We provide core funding to the Two Blades Foundation, a charitable organisation which supports the development of crops with long-term disease resistance, and promotes their deployment in agriculture worldwide, focusing particularly on developing countries.
Plant diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi and oomycetes are ubiquitous and a major cause of severe crop losses in agriculture, horticulture and forestry. Common control methods to minimise disease include the use of agrochemicals and deployment of disease-resistant crop varieties. Although agrochemicals are used successfully in developed countries, their cost often puts them beyond the reach of farmers in the developing world. Furthermore, their use may be associated with environmental damage and hazards to both users and consumers.
Similarly, deploying disease-resistant varieties is not always effective in combating crop losses. Resistant varieties may not be suitable for particular agro-ecological conditions. Even when they are, their utility is often lost in a few years because pathogen populations evolve to overcome resistance.
The Two Blades Foundation (2Blades) is a US based charitable organisation that supports programmes of research and development on durable disease resistance – resistance which does not break down rapidly in the field. Where research identifies ways of breeding for lasting resistance, 2Blades promotes the application of such research in practical programmes of crop improvement and deployment.
2Blades recognises that there is an especially urgent need for the development of disease-resistant crops in developing countries, particularly among subsistence farmers. Consequently this is a major focus of its activity. Where appropriate, 2Blades distributes its technologies at no cost through relevant national and international agencies or through local seed companies.