Scientists to Develop Disease-Resistant Cassava

Scientists to Develop Disease-Resistant Cassava

Kigali — Regional, agro-scientists have embarked on a research project to develop cassava varieties with resistance to the two most dangerous diseases that hamper cassava production in eastern and southern Africa; Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) and Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD).

The new cassava breed being developed has been dubbed; "double resistance cassava."

Announcing the progress after four year advanced trials in Uganda, Agro scientist Edward Kanju, at the Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), said that there are 14 types of the crop under research that are very promising.

"I am very excited with the results of the trials," he said. "Out of the 40 types of cassava under trial, 8 did not show any disease symptoms and 6 had very mild symptoms, either on the roots or leaves or both," Kanju says.

According to Kanju, the findings will be followed by disease exposure for further testing.

"This is a very severe test for establishing disease resistance and if they don't show any signs afterwards, then we can confidently, and for the first time say we have cassava varieties that are resistant to both CBSD and CMD," Kanju said.

Subsequently, the cassava plants will be tested in other countries that include; Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, and DR Congo.

Currently breeding for dual-resistant cassava is being conducted in Tanzania and DR Congo.

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