BSPP News Spring 2000 - Online Edition

The Newsletter of the British Society for Plant Pathology
Number 36, Spring 2000 

Editing Plant Pathology - Jean Stamps

During the time of the last three Senior Editors of Plant Pathology (Peter Scott, Mike Jeger and Roy Johnson) Jean Stamps played an important role in achieving a high standard of finish on the published papers. Under the first two of the three editors, she acted as a proof-reader, in which role she certainly picked up many small, and sometimes larger, errors that had escaped the net. Indeed, she was so successful in this that, when I (RJ) became Senior Editor, Blackwell's complained that there were more proof changes for Plant Pathology than for their other journals. This led to change in function, where Jean became a reader of the final scripts. The number of errors detected, despite the efforts of authors, referees and editors, would astound you all. This often included errors in references, but often too, in more serious ways, such as wrong reference to tables in the text, wrong calculation of values in tables, misspellings of Latin names, and a host of other details. As a result, I am sure that Plant Pathology has had a very high standard of finish on the papers during my tenure of the post of Senior Editor.

Before her recruitment as a proof-reader, Jean Stamps was familiar with the journal as she worked at CAB International and produced abstracts of Plant Pathology papers. Thus she was important to the journal for at least a quarter of a century. She is now ready to retire from this work and to mark this event, a small gathering of present and former Senior Editors will take place, when a small token of our gratitude, and that of the BSPP, will be presented to Jean.

An engraved bowl presented to Jean Stamps for her
services to Plant Pathology. Engraving reads "Jean
Stamps - 25 devoted service to Plant Pathology",
and around the foot, "Profound gratitude from the
British Society for Plant Pathology".

Roy Johnson
Senior Editor, Plant Pathology



International Society for Plant Pathology Task Force on Global Food Security

At the 7th International Congress of Plant Pathology, August 1998 (ICPP98), The Executive Committee of ISPP took up a challenge from Congress participants and formed a Task Force on Global Food Security. The Board of the British Society for Plant Pathology (BSPP) generously undertook to support ISPP's Task Force initiative, by providing funding for an initial meeting of the Task Force.

The first meeting of the ISPP Task Force took place in association with a Round Table meeting on SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE: THE GLOBAL ISSUE in Bangkok, 13-15 September 1999 convened by the Asia Pacific Crop Protection Association, an industry-sponsored group and the Global Forum for Agricultural Research, a group sponsored by the World Bank and FAO.

ISPP invited an international group of plant pathologists to be Members of the Task Force, to participate in the first meeting, and to continue to participate in the programme outlined.

Participation was confirmed by: Chris Akem (Syria), Rick Bennett (USA: will appoint a representative of APS's Office of International Progams), Mike Jeger (UK; appointed by BSPP), Hajime Kato (Japan), Jill Lenné (UK), Emmanuel Moses (Ghana), Rebecca Nelson (Peru), Peter Scott (ISPP), CY Shen (FAO, Asia) and Paul Teng (Philippines)

The enormity of the problem
During the World Food Summit in Rome in 1996, Heads of States agreed to halve the number of hungry people by 2015. Today there are 800 million, almost all of them in developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Hunger and poverty are inextricably linked and the solution does not rely on one factor, but on an interrelated complex of factors that includes population, technology, policy and social changes.

What are the facts about Global Food Security?
World population is 5.8 billion 80% live in developing countries, where the population increases 1.9% per year.
More than 800 million people do not have adequate food 1.3 billion live on less than $1 a day. 50% of poor people live in Asia, 25% in Africa, 12% in Latin America. Most poor people live in areas where the land is marginal and ecosystems are fragile. Global food production is 5 billion tons per annum

Why do diseases and pests of crops matter?
Crop diseases, pests and weeds reduce production by at least one-third, despite the use of pesticides worth $32 billion. Crop diseases alone reduce production by more than 10%. For example, potato blight, the disease that caused the Irish famine in 1845, is again becoming prevalent

What are the options for managing crop diseases to improve food security?
ISPP's Task Force will address the nature of the global food security problem, and the principles and modalities whereby plant pathologists may realistically tackle it. Attention will be focused on delivering tangible results of demonstrable benefit to global food security. A programme will be chosen that can benefit from ISPP's facilitating or coordinating role in relation to existing or planned programmes in plant pathology, rather than from initiation of new work. Achievable results are likely to derive from coordinating existing research programmes, or through surveying incidence of damage, or through supporting extension or outreach programmes. SPP's own funds are very limited, so fundraising in support of such action is likely to be one objective. The work of the Task Force will be monitored by ISPP Executive Council and reported to the Membership through Councillors. Feedback from the Membership will be encouraged, to guide the future programme.