Nov 23, 2017 Last Updated 2:37 PM, Apr 10, 2017

We Have Improved Cassava Varieties That Are Resistant To Cassava Mosaic Disease - Dr. Titus

  • Dec 19, 2014
Published in Printing

Dr. Titus is the head of Cassava and sweat potatoes program at the national crops resources research institute he spoke to Farmers media about the contribution of the Cassava program towards this year’s world food day theme which is feeding the world and caring for the earth.

 

Briefly what is the focus of the bean program?
The current programs we are working on are cassava and sweat potato, and one our core activities is to develop a new varieties, release verities that will perform better in the environment, ranging from pests and diseases.

This year’s world food day theme is feeding the world and caring for the earth, how can bean program contribute to the attainment of this theme?
we come up with a new varieties to address this challenges, we have released close to 40 varieties of both cassava and sweet potatoes, that are primarily addressing issues of resistance of pests and diseases, through collaborating with other agencies, NGOs, extension agencies, we work to multiply these varieties and make them available to farmers, we are also interested in improving the nutrition quality of these two crops, we know that they good dynamic food for energy, and they are rich in carbohydrates, and starch and it’s a staple food, people eat it for lunch, supper, so we think if we can improve the nutritional content of lets say vitamin, we have developed orange fleshed sweat potatoes that are rich in vitamin A, So we are currently multiplying this and disseminating planting material for this, to different communities, we just released two new varieties of orange fleshed sweat potatoes two month ago, we are doing similar work on Cassava coming up with Vitamin A, we are going to see farmers start growing Cassava which has yellow fresh, this is not available as yet to farmers perhaps in the next two years it will become available to the farmers but above all our biggest contribution is to reduce the incidence of pests and diseases that are affecting these crops, for example for cassava we have widely disseminated varieties resistant to Cassava mosaic.

What are the key research achievements for the program this year?
We have been able to reduce the incidence of Cassava mosaic from around 67% country wide from 90s to less than 15% as of this year, so that is a big achievement of our research the biggest challenge for now is cassava brown stick, which is another type of disease for Cassava that is caused by viruses its very different from Cassava mosaic disease and its impact apparently is more devastating, we are developing a resistant varieties that can sustain the brown tick disease. Currently we are promoting one variety called NASE14 which we are multiplying at NARO zonal institute across the country where they are closer to farmers.

How have you ensured that the achievements rollout to the farming communities?
In resent year access to quality planting materials has led to low production of Cassava, our farmers still plant disease Cassava they get from their neighbors or from old fields, we have shown that if you start with a good planting material you get good yields, so we are now working with different partners, ministry of agriculture and a number of NGOs to try to develop ways in which high quality disease free planting materials of cassava is available close to the farmers, and also traditionally many part of the country were not interested in growing Cassava but in the last ten years Cassava has penetrated all the parts of the country, right now we are even testing it in the highland, like in zombo,so there is a potential for Cassava in this country not only for consumption but even feeding the industries,

What is your massage for this year’s world food day to the world?
My massage to community is that we have technologies for cassava, we have improved cassava varieties that are resistant to Cassava Mosaic disease and also Cassava brown stick disease that we are working with partners at regional and district levels to multiply and these are available to farmers to access at within they communities, so I call upon them to take up the use of these varieties first and fore most to prevent these diseases especially Cassava brown stick disease.

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