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Danforth Center Collaborative Research Program receives funding to improve crop yield in Africa
Date:9/6/2011

at risk of famine each year because of CBSD threats. The enormous urgency posed by these viruses demands that appropriate tools be applied to solve the problem.

"In Uganda, we eat cassava two or three times per day. Restoring and improving cassava productivity will be key for the improving the economic progress of the country and the region," said Dr. Titus Alicai, project lead, National Crop Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI).

In East Africa CBSD is considered a more immediate threat to cassava production than CMD because of the significant increase in geographical distribution in recent years and the dramatic effect this virus has on both yield and quality of cassava storage roots. CBSD symptoms are more subtle than CMD and may be hard to detect on leaves and stems, while causing severe necrosis in the edible storage roots and to the stems that are used to produce the next crop. Root necrosis, which can remain unnoticed until harvest, has a substantial impact on families that are dependent on the crop. Furthermore, stem cuttings produced from infected plants grow poorly or not at all, increasing chances that farmers will abandon the cultivation of cassava in severely affected regions, such as around Lake Victoria.

The enhanced cassava cultivars created by the VIRCA project will be readily available to farmers in the same way traditional cassava is being offered today and will have no royalty fees. This means farmers will be able to freely multiply, save and share their planting materials.


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Contact: Melanie Bernds
mbernds@danforthcenter.org
314-587-1647
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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