The Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa Plus (VIRCA Plus) consortium of American, Nigerian, Ugandan, and Kenyan institutions recently received a five-year, $10.46 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop disease-resistant and nutritionally-enhanced cassava varieties to improve the livelihoods and health status of African farm families.
Plant viral diseases can destroy up to 100 percent of a cassava crop yield, threatening livelihoods and leading to hunger. The VIRCA Plus collaboration will address these challenges by developing and delivering two products. The first will be East African cassava varieties with resistance to both Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) and Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD). The second will be a Nigerian cassava variety with elevated levels of iron and zinc for improved nutrition, as well as disease resistance. See more