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February 27th, 2019 / AllAfrica.com

B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports

Farmers across Africa are engaged in growing cassava which is considered as food security and industrial crop but the plant is vulnerable to a broad range of diseases as well as less known viral strains.

In East Africa the most common are Cassava Brown Streak Virus (CBSV), which leads to root rot and Cassava Mosaic Virus (CMV) which shows symptoms of yellowing and wrinkled leaves but it is no longer a major challenge.

In particular to Uganda there is the Uganda Cassava Brown Streak Virus (UCBSV) which is known for causing severe damage of root rot.

As such scientists with expertise in breeding cassava across the globe in a concerted effort have been breeding the plant using conventional means to tolerate the virus.

Since 2014, scientists from Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Brazil and Colombia under the Nextgen cassava project secured a grant from Bill and Melinda Gates to breed cassava with resistance to various viral diseases. Read more