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Thursday, October 31, 2013

EU, FAO call for funds to combat cassava diseases in Africa

The European Union (EU) and the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) have called for increased investments to prevent further crop damage and the rapidly spreading strains of cassava disease.

This position was made in a statement by the two bodies as the outcome of the meeting of 70 regional cassava professionals in Nairobi, Kenya where it was decided that a minimum of $100 million ( about  N15.9 billion) is needed to continue the efforts of the EU funded, FAO coordinated Regional Cassava Initiative.

 NaijaAgroNet gathered from the statement that over a four-year period, the initiative has improved food security and repaired damaged yields in the areas affected by cassava disease and noted that the project is set to end without further investment.

Seven countries including Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda worked with the initiative to offer cassava farmers disease resistant plants and clean materials.

Although these efforts curbed the effects of Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD), Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) continues to spread, threatening the food security of the 135 million people in the region, while NaijaAgroNet learnt that without continued funding of the Initiative, CBSD is likely to spread into Nigeria, the biggest cassava-producing nation in Africa.


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