FIVE AFRICAN COUNTRIES CONDUCTS DISEASE RESISTANCE TRIALS FOR 25 VARIETIES OF CASSAVA

Disease resistance trials for cassava being conducted simultaneously in 33 different locations across five African countries and involving 25 shared varieties are showing promise against the deadly Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) and Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD).

According to a statement, this first-of-its-kind multi-country collaborative cassava breeding initiative in East and Southern Africa is part of a major activity of the new cassava varieties and clean seed to combat CBSD and CMD (5CP) project which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The project is led by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) working in collaboration with the national agricultural research systems of Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia where the trials are being conducted.

The project is in its final year of implementation.

Dr Edward Kanju, IITA cassava breeder and coordinator of the 5CP project, said that preliminary results of the trials have already shown that several of the new varieties are virtually unaffected by CBSD and CMD, even in locations where disease pressure is extremely high from infected fields surrounding the trials.

“Although in many of the countries the varieties are undergoing their first year of trials, our initial results are already showing good promise,” he said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK