Making healthy crops

Clean cassava seed systems in Burundi, DR Congo, and Rwanda

  • October 16, 2020

Burundi, DR Congo (DRC), and Rwanda form part of the Great Lakes region and have known disrupted food production systems, partly caused by recent civil strife. Cassava is a popular crop in the region but on-farm productivity is low (at about 8 t/ha) due to several factors, including (i) predominant use of local varieties that are low yielding and susceptible to pests and diseases; (ii) disease outbreaks, especially viral diseases (cassava mosaic disease, CMD; cassava brown streak disease, CBSD) and pathogen disease (cassava root necrosis disease, CRND); and (iii) reliance on informal seed systems.   Indeed,...

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Improved soybean varieties increase farmer incomes by 53% – study shows

  • October 16, 2020

Soybean production is an essential component of the maize-based smallholder cropping systems in Malawi. It increases soil fertility by fixing nitrogen in the soil, leading to improved crop yields. Furthermore, soybean is fast becoming a significant source of cash income as well as an essential contributor to food and nutrition security. Soybean production is also less risky as it is more tolerant of pests and diseases and has good grain storage quality compared to other cereals. In view of these benefits, soybean has been identified and targeted as a strategic crop to diversify the cropping system...

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Putting the power of pest and disease diagnosis in farmers’ hands

  • October 16, 2020

Twenty to 40% of global crop production is lost to pest and disease damage, costing more than US$200 billion every year. Consequently, one of the top priorities of agricultural researchers worldwide is finding ways to identify, monitor, and control crop pests and diseases.     The first step in this process is identification. People have probably been able to recognize some of the most apparent pests and diseases since the earliest days of farming. Pestilence from locusts is described in many of the ancient religious texts. Causal agents of diseases, however, by their microscopic...

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Delivering healthy cassava planting material to tackle disease and promote entrepreneurship in East Africa

  • October 16, 2020

Cassava is the second most important crop staple in East and Central Africa after maize, providing food security to hundreds of millions of rural and urban households. Successive virus disease pandemics, however, have resulted in losses worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year, threatening the livelihoods of all those who depend on this source of calories. IITA has partnered with national research programs in the region to identify and promote varieties resistant to cassava mosaic virus (CMV), but this was curtailed by viruses causing cassava brown streak disease (CBSD), to which these varieties...

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