The Need: protection from cassava brown streak disease
Cassava growers across Africa face major challenges from pests and plant diseases, especially cassava brown streak disease (CBSD).
Although the rest of the plant may look healthy, storage roots produced by plants infected with CBSD develop brown lesions. They are inedible as food and feed and valueless in the marketplace.
In severe infections, CBSD can result in up to 100% loss of usable storage roots, threatening livelihoods and leading to hunger.
CBSD is spread between plants and farms by whiteflies which are difficult to control with pesticides. The disease is also spread unintentionally by farmers who share and plant infected cuttings. Thus far, breeders have not been able to develop varieties with natural resistance to CBSD.