The Need: protection from cassava diseases
Plant viral diseases can destroy up to 100 percent of a cassava crop yield, threatening livelihoods and leading to hunger. Cassava varieties that are resistant to both diseases could dramatically improve the crop’s ability to feed and provide income for smallholder farmers in Africa.
Cassava production in Africa is limited by two viral plant diseases: Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD), which destroys the edible roots even when rest of the plant looks healthy, and Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD), which can stunt plants to varying degrees or kill them completely. These two diseases are often found together in the same field and can devastate entire crops. Both diseases are spread by white-flies (high populations of which cannot be controlled effectively with pesticides) and by infected cassava stem cuttings shared among farmers.