Ugandan farmers fight cassava mosaic disease with clean planting materials

| May 8, 2017

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Two of this week’s Farmer stories highlight the advantages—and the challenges—of using improved seeds. Some improved seeds were specifically bred to be resistant to particular plant diseases. This is true of some varieties of cassava. Accessing and planting clean, disease-free cassava cuttings is the focus of our Script of the week.

Cassava is one of the most important staple foods in Uganda. Until the mid-1990s, Uganda produced a surplus of the crop. But a 1988 outbreak of cassava mosaic disease reduced that surplus and virtually eliminated cassava in many parts of the country.

Cassava production has been rising in Uganda since 2010. But a more dangerous form of cassava mosaic disease recently emerged, and devastated some indigenous and some improved varieties. It is estimated that the disease results in annual losses of 81.7 billion Ugandan shillings ($22.4 million US).

This script underlines the importance of using disease-free planting materials, and shows how some Ugandan cassava farmers are succeeding in reviving cassava production.

You could use this script as research material or as inspiration for creating your own program on managing cassava mosaic disease or other challenges involving cassava and other crops.

Speak to farmers and other experts who are dealing with these kinds of challenges. You might ask them the following questions:

  • Do households in their areas grow cassava?
  • What challenges do they experience in growing cassava?
  • Are solutions available for these challenges?
  • What are the experts doing about it?