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أزمة السلسلة الغذائية

Strengthening capacity in managing the Cassava Mosaic Virus Infestation in Cambodia


The project “Strengthening Capacity in Managing the Cassava Mosaic Virus Infestation in Cambodia”, jointly implemented by the General Directorate of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Cambodia and FAO, has just came to an end.  The project has been implemented upon request by the General Directorate of Agriculture after the detection of the Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) in Ratanakiri late 2015 and was funded and supported by FAO through its Technical Cooperation Programme and Asia-Pacific Regional Office respectively.

The project mainly focused on building capacity of the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) to control the Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) spread and reduce its threats to cassava industry in Cambodia.

Cassava Mosaic Disease poses a serious threat to the cassava industry in Cambodia as well as in the region. 55 million tons of annual production of cassava creates a USD 10 billion business in the region. It is an important industrial crop for the Cambodian economy with an estimated export value of USD 675 million in 2017. The livelihoods of several hundred thousands of Cambodian smallholder farmers can thus be severely affected if the disease is not contained. Sizeable impacts of the CMD has already been observed through the decline of cassava export from Cambodia although it is difficult to attribute the drop to CMD solely. The export volume has decreased by about 32 percent between 2017 and 2018. Similarly, official records from Thailand and Vietnam, the two major importers of the cassava from Cambodia, showed the drop in import value of cassava from Cambodia, by 34 percent between 2017 and 2018 and by 37 percent for the first 10 months between 2017 and 2018, respectively.

The disease spread very quickly in the country; within just three years, the infestation has reached the Cambodia’s north-west provinces that are among the Cambodia’s major cassava producing provinces.  The infestation was also reported in some provinces of Thailand. In addition, Vietnam’s Tay Ninh province, the largest single source of cassava stems for Cambodia, was reported to be affected by CMD for its 40,000 ha of cassava-cultivated areas. The absence of quality seed supply system, and movement of infected planting materials increase the risks of disease further spread.

The project has completed several activities and outputs. In particular, FAO conducted technical training workshops on surveillance and planning for CMD including sampling procedures and operationalization of field e-surveillance system using p-trackers. FAO also supported and set-up PCR/ELISA facilities for the identification of CMD viruses at NPPO laboratory and trained laboratory technicians on the uses of PCR/ELISA for virus characterization. Farmer Field Schools were established to facilitate the experiential learning process for farmers by using the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach for the control of CMD. Information, education and communication (IEC) materials for awareness raising on CMD (leaflet, poster and educational video clip) were also produced and disseminated. Knowledge, good practices and lessons learnt on CMD management were disseminated through farmer field days and dissemination workshop. With the status of the CMD spread, it may take some years to control the disease effectively. This requires a national and regional control program.

Much stronger national and regional efforts especially of the four countries Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos, are also required on the control of stem movement; development of rapid seed multiplication and quality seed supply system; building national and sub-national capacity for disease monitoring and surveillance; and last but not least the awareness raising and educating cassava farmers and seed traders. More coordinated efforts and actions of the development partners, academic and research institutes, NGOs, the private sector are critical for the control program.