Transgenic cassava armed with twin illness resistance

Long a food staple in Africa, the common-or-garden cassava may be poised to develop even more vital as other crops resembling maize (corn) wither within the heat and drought of a warming climate. But agricultural scientists know that the hardy tuber has an Achilles Heel - disease - that might curb its future potential.

With that risk in thoughts, researchers on the Swiss Federal Institute of Expertise (ETH) in Zurich this week report the event of a brand new transgenic cassava variety that's immune to a pair of viral illnesses which might be common in several parts of Africa. Revealed on 25 September in PLoS One, the work is a part of a broader effort by the ETH and different institutions to work with native scientists and farmers and then develop disease-resistant strains in addition to experience inside African labs.

“If we need to get this moving into Africa, we need to have native folks on the bottom occupied with deploying this expertise,” says Herve Vanderschuren, lead writer on the research and head of a cassava analysis staff at the ETH. In parallel with the his work on illness resistant crops, Vanderschuren has labored with researchers Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa to develop a course of that permits for this work to be undertaken locally.

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Nigeria to earn $136m from cassava subsequent 12 months

To create worth within the cassava trade, Nigeria, the largest producer of cassava in the world would be exporting a complete of1.1 million metric tons of cassava chips within the next 12 months.

This may earn Nigeria about $136 million.

To capitalize on new opportunities to make use of cassava for modified starch to substitute imported corn starch, Nigeria may even be producing 280,000 metric tons of native modified cassava starch by 2015.

“We are also profiting from the rising demand for dried cassava chips in China and few days in the past, our first shipment of cassava left the shores of Nigeria to China”.

Dr Akinwunmi Ayo Adesina, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Growth of Nigeria, stated these on the Regional Creating Shared Value (CSV) Discussion board right here in Lagos, Nigeria, in a speech read for him.

He stated Nigeria had succeeded in attracting a non-public investor, who could be investing six billion dollars in organising ethanol crops to use cassava and sugar cane as raw supplies to provide high fructose syrup that would replace a major share of the imported sugar utilized by smooth drink and juice industry.

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Co-op turns cassava farming into lucrative undertaking

From cassava to cash, That is the noble purpose of a rising multi-purpose cooperative right here as it seeks to improve productivity of its members who're mostly cassava farmers.

Cassava is likely one in all the main plants that thrive effectively in this town, however farmers don't earn a lot as it's highly perishable and postharvest losses were very high.

 Merchants also come into play, which often purchase farmers produce into less expensive value leaving farmers brief modification with their profit.

“The San Jose Multi-objective Cooperative (SJMPC) used to be organized to handle the necessity for better pricing and on the identical time works for equivalent good thing about cassava farmers,” mentioned SJMPC supervisor Abraham Oso.

 “The cooperative offers quite a few advantages to cassava farmers. Except for providing them access to financing, they can have patronage refund and annually dividend,” Oso said.

The rising demand for cassava in feed method offered wider opportunities to farmers as private processors provided three way partnership for the cooperative to supply them with merchandise for animal feeds.

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Cassava bread and diabetes

Obtainable evidence doesn't help the faulty belief that cassava bread just isn't wholesome for consumption. Some folks have even linked cassava bread with diabetes. This clarification turns into essential against the backdrop of the purported rejection by the House of Representatives of a bill in search of to mandate bakers to make cassava flour part of the components for making bread. I was wondering why the Home would take such choice, realizing that Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava, added with the truth that the produce, which has the potential to earn thousands of Nigerians significant earnings, is not totally exploited.

Diabetes is a worldwide illness and, at current, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has substantial information on it. It's noteworthy that Nigeria will not be one of the international locations with high prevalence, and never even among the prime ten nations that can document excessive prevalence by 2030, according to a research report performed by Sarah Wild, Gojka Rojlic, et al (2004), which was administered on WHO member countries. India, China, USA, Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Japan, Philippines and Egypt are nations that, by 2030, can have between 7 million and 79 million people diagnosed as having diabetes. Coincidentally, these nations are the main wheat producers within the world.

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Cassava: The Rambo of Meals Crops

Fact sheet
Common Names: Yuca, Tapioca, Manioc
Species              : Manihot esculenta Crantz
Syn                    : M. ultissima Phol
Syn                    : M. aipi Phol
Family               :  Euphorbiaceae

Cassava is not really a “forgotten crop” in many parts of Africa, but because of the threat of climate change having a major impact on traditional crops - especially in the SADC region - we will discuss it here.

In our region, many farmers still prefer to plant maize, millet and sorghum – all of which stand to suffer if the region becomes more drought-prone and more arid in the years to come.

The reason is simple: Cassava offers climate change hope for Africa.


Cassava is grown for its enlarged starch-filled roots, which contain nearly the maximum theoretical concentration of starch on a dry weight basis among food crops.

Fresh roots contain about 30 percent starch and very little protein. Roots are prepared much like potato. They can be peeled and boiled, baked, or fried.

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New cassava pest seems for first time in Viet Nam

The cassava pink mealybug, an invasive pest species that can kill cassava vegetation by consuming the sap, has appeared for the primary time in Viet Nam within the south-japanese province of Tay Ninh, one of the nation's leading producers of the tuberous root.

The insect, which has appeared in lots of nations including in Southeast Asia, can spread quickly to other locations via the transport of contaminated cassava stem cuttings for planting, and can also be carried by wind, water, animals, human beings, instruments, and vehicles.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Tuesday instructed Tay Ninh and the Plant Protection Department to hold out prevention and control measures towards the pest.

The measures embody a survey of affected areas by local authorities, studies to the provincial administration and the division, and destruction of all contaminated crops beneath the latter's supervision.

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Cassava key to meals security, say scientists

An alliance of scientists has been formed to assist promote cassava, which has emerged as a “survivor” crop in a position to thrive within the expected larger temperatures engendered by climate change, a scientific convention in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, heard.

Some 300 scientists attending the second Worldwide Scientific Conference of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP-21-II) announced the alliance, named the International Cassava Modelling Consortium, which will provide a platform to world cassava researchers to share analysis information, better perceive the physiology of the plant, and discover avenues for shielding it from assaults now that it has even larger significance for the food safety of many regions within the world.

The new consortium will initially set up a loose network of scientists sharing and analysing current cassava research and historical analysis data. As it grows, the network will embrace the sharing of experiences with cassava farmers across the Tropics, with farms being handled as experimental stations in their very own right.

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Govt targets $136m income from cassava export to China

NIGERIA’s economic diversification power might inch towards realisation soon, with plan through Federal Authorities to export a million tonnes of cassava chips to China, starting from this month.

The export enterprise is expected to bouy the country’s earnings by means of $136 million (N22 billion).

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Growth, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina made this disclosure in Umuahia, Abia State, on Wednesday, throughout the inauguration of the Growth Enhancement Help (GES) scheme, a crucial element of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda.

The scheme was once scripted as an innovative method to fertiliser subsidy management by method of an electronic device, which guarantees that solely registered farmers’ benefit.

“Nigeria will earn $136 million simply this yr on account of this exportation and this is taking place for the primary time in our history”, Adeshina said.

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Bakers call for waivers on enzymes critical for cassava bread production

Nigerian corporate bakers, who have commenced production of cassava bread, have called on the federal government to give them import duty waiver on enzymes (magic solutions) in high quality cassava flour recipes, which they claim are imported at high costs, brought about by high freighting costs, BusinessDay can reveal. 

Without these enzymes, cassava bread manufacturing will fail since high quality cassava flour does not contain gluten, a vital component for bread baking. These enzymes are not available in Nigeria.
The CEOs of UTC Nigeria Plc, Folusho Olaniyan and Food Concepts, Deji Akinyanju, bakers of UTC Bread and Butterfield Bread, revealed this fact at the launch of the commerciacialised high quality cassava-based bread held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Saturday.

According to Olaniyan: “Our magic solutions (enzymes) in the high quality cassava flour recipes, have come to us at relatively high costs due to high freighting costs. They are a necessity for success because of the absence of gluten in high quality cassava flour. We solicit for the Federal Government’s support in getting waivers on the import duty for bakery equipment and enzymes pending the time enzymes can be locally manufactured. We also appeal to the Federal Government to support us with a marketing campaign which we, the stakeholders, will actively participate in formulating in order to achieve maximum results.”
Akinyanju said, “We require a waiver on duty for both the equipment and enzymes that we need to import from abroad. With minimal grants to fund additional equipment we will be able to automate our processes which will increase our efficiencies and capacity to deliver to feeding programmes nation wide.”

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Nigeria's cassava conundrum

Keen to advertise self-sufficiency, Nigeria's government needs to clamp down on rice and wheat imports and promote the usage of cassava. The plan appears sound, however farmers stay sceptical.

Every day, on the outskirts of Abuja, Nourou Salisu produces practically 10,000 loaves of bread in his conventional clay ovens. Nigeria's buzzing capital offers a prepared-made market for his output, however that may very well be about to change following the federal government's announcement of insurance policies designed to wean one fifth of Africa's inhabitants off its dependency to wheat.

Africa's most populous nation, once seen as the regional breakbasket, wants to curb persistent dependence on overseas meals by clamping down on rice and wheat imports and introducing a raft of monetary incentives ahead of subsequent yr's budget. The intention is to kick the sluggish agriculture sector into life.

Salisu, nonetheless, is sceptically in regards to the plans, even when they are aimed toward lifting millions like himself out of starvation and poverty. "No one will chop [eat] cassava bread. The cassava starch won't permit the bread be tender," he said, when instructed of insurance policies that can compel bakeries to start substituting wheat flour for cassava flour.

"We do not have the science [technology] to grind the cassava, to make the bread soft. Our customers won't purchase it and it will spoil," he added, gesturing in the direction of the handfuls of luggage of flour stored within the sweltering bakery.

Final month, President Goodluck Jonathan - eager to persuade his people to patronise locally-grown merchandise -publicly shared a loaf of unsweetened cassava bread together with his vice-president and ministers. Nonetheless, his try and open an inside marketplace for the world's largest cassava grower isn't new; virtually a decade ago, former head of state Olusegun Obasanjo tried and didn't pressure bakers to use no less than 10% of the tuber in breadmaking.

Billed as a central a part of the brand new administration's "transformation" agenda - a sign of how badly Nigeria's agriculture sector wants fixing - proposals in a preliminary finances to slash a $68bn import bill embrace a 100% levy on rice and wheat imports subsequent year. Wheat prices the federal government a staggering $3.9bn annually, while Nigeria is the world's largest rice importer - at a cost of $6.25m a day - though its local weather is ideal for rice growing.

Cassava is being touted as a possible source of food self-sufficiency for Nigeria. By banning its import from next yr, and providing tax rebates for millers who use a minimum of 40% of cassava flour in breadmaking, the federal government hopes to encourage manufacturing and spur businesses to purchase it.

With the continent still reeling from meals riots over the previous two years, agriculture and water resources minster Akin Adesina believes these policies might spark the sort of "green revolution" which has largely bypassed Africa.

"We have now a situation the place we are coping with large numbers of unemployed people and high ranges of poverty, and these are the priorities of the federal government," he said. "We must create jobs regionally through import substitution."

In accordance with the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, Africa has greater than doubled cereal imports over the past three decades, a trend some countries have begun making an attempt to reverse by proactive policies. In Uganda, for example, rice output more than doubled in the area of 4 years after a seventy five% tax was imposed on imports. The responsibility additionally spurred the development of latest mills, lowering the value of domestically refined rice. Malawi, meanwhile, one in every of Africa's poorest countries, reversed its meals deficit in simply two years via a targeted subsidy programme that helped finance fertiliser for farmers.

Brushing off criticisms of protectionism amid a global downturn, Adesina argued Nigeria could follow go well with: "Each nation on the earth protects its markets and farmers. Nigeria's farming population is made up of more than 70% of smallholder farmers. Our policies are directed at creating new market alternatives for them."

Plans are underway to duplicate a 2009 authorities-funded scheme that resulted in maize yields rising from 1.5 tons to 4.2 tons per hectare in taking part farms. But experts say a scarcity of funding will make it troublesome to produce 2.5 million metric tons of rice - enough to feed the nation and go away an extra of 500,000 tons - by 2015.

Nigeria was once a net food exporter, but poor infrastructure, lack of finance and misguided policies meant agriculture was progressively shunted aside as the main target shifted to oil. However the nation's vast oilfields have enriched solely a tiny minority, leaving many of the country's a hundred and fifty million farmers poor and hungry.

Past form has left many doubtful that the federal government has the potential or political will to implement effective change. "The problem we have now is that a few of the financial institutions and a lot of the infrastructure is weak," mentioned Kamar Hamza, a Nigeria-based financial consultant. "On paper, the insurance policies are very good. But in relation to implementation, we've a parasitic civil service whose primary curiosity is earning money from government policies. They will easily hijack the plan."

Another issue is the federal government's monetary commitment to agriculture. It has only allotted 2% of the price range (around $500m) to agriculture, making it considered one of eight nations that have didn't assign a minimum of 10% of annual price range to agriculture, as agreed below the phrases of the Complete Africa Agricultural Development Programme adopted on the African Union summit in Maputo in 2003.

A string of failed agricultural insurance policies has bred skepticism among farmers. Many complain that micro credit funds allotted to them routinely disappear into the nation's labyrinthine political system. "And anyway, there are no roads. There is a fuel shortage. Are we to hold all the pieces we develop on our backs to market?" muses Sunday Alachi, a subsistence cassava farmer.

His fears maybe echo these holding again potential private-sector buyers, who're needed if government insurance policies are to bear fruit.

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