Varietal selection to be used in the fight against cassava mosaic disease
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Cassava is very popular with the people of the Comoros, who consume its leaves and tubers. However, cassava production is currently threatened by mosaic disease. The disease appeared in the 90s, spreading easily from one plant to another. It causes yellowing and loss of leaves and stunts growth in tubers.
To fight against mosaic disease, an initiative, the Pilot Agricultural Service Project (PPSA), funded by the World Bank in 2000, enables the development and introduction of a variety resistant to the disease. It comes from a Nigerian laboratory and is known simply as ‘variety 2325’. Unfortunately, however, the variety was not able to be adopted on a large scale. This is what the PNDHD (NationalProgramme for Sustainable Human Development) hopes to do. The partnership agreement has not yet been signed, but work has already begun to identify the variety in fields.
Issimaïla Mohamed, current head of INRAPE Plant Protection, was involved in the introduction of ‘variety 2325’ in 2000. He and Mohamed Seifillah Soulé, a PNDHD technician, met Ali Hafizou, a former agricultural technician and owner of as mall parcel in the area of Hambou in the center of Grande Comore, where he has been cultivating variety 2325. Aware of its potential for the development of the industry, the farmer agreed to allow researchers to take cuttings. The PNDHD will provide labour in exchange for this service and the associated loss of yield.
Once harvested in sufficient quantity, cuttings of variety 2325 will be distributed to the farmers of Grande Comore. Sections of cassava stem will be regularly examined at Agricultural Supervision Centres (CEA) where monitoring will prevent varietal degeneration. This program will also be rolled out in the islands of Anjouan and Moheli.
• For more information on PNDHD : www.fidacomores.net/