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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

More efforts required to combat cassava diseases in Africa

In response to rapidly spreading strains of cassava disease, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) are calling for increased investments to prevent further crop damage. The cassava root is a key crop for both regional subsistence and trade.
After a meeting of 70 regional cassava professionals in Nairobi, Kenya it was determined that a minimum of USD 100 million is needed to continue the efforts of the EU funded, FAO coordinated Regional Cassava Initiative. Over a four-year period the Initiative improved food security and repaired damaged yields in the areas affected by cassava disease. The project is set to end in October 2013 without further investment.
Seven countries including Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda worked with the Initiative to offer cassava farmers disease resistant plants and clean materials. Although these efforts curbed the effects of Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD), Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) continues to spread, threatening the food security of the 135 million people in the region.
Without continued funding of the Initiative, CBSD is likely to spread into Nigeria, the biggest cassava-producing nation in Africa.

Source: FAO