This major new network brings together UK scientists with colleagues from across Africa to co-produce innovative new solutions to vector-borne crop diseases. And it turns out, there are a lot of them.
Almost every major crop in Africa is affected by disease.
Yams, cassava, soy bean, cocoa, maize, coffee, bananas and many more of Africa’s key crops are affected by vector-borne disease.
That creates an ENORMOUS burden for the continent. Estimates shared by Prof Emmanuel Okogbenin suggest that yield losses due to plant disease cost $30 billion annually. In addition, it seriously affects food security and malnutrition in a continent where around 160 million of its population are already deemed food insecure.
As a result, demand is outstripping production for many crops (like maize), and Africa is heavily reliant on imported goods. These are undoubtedly more expensive than locally grown produce, and remain inaccessible or affordable to many.
Crucially, people have died as a result of every major outbreak.