Cassava virus on verge of epidemic in East Africa
Experts urge funding, swift action to protect staple food crop
16 November 2011, Nairobi - A new variant of a cassava disease is affecting large parts of East Africa, especially in the area's Great Lakes Region, putting a crucial source of food and income at risk, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
FAO experts say Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) is on the verge of becoming an epidemic, and have called for an urgent increase in funding, research, training, surveillance and other measures to help farmers and breeders.
The appearance of the disease in previously unaffected areas, and the lack of continued funding for research and development work to address CBSD in the region, have added to the threat already presented by Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD).