Cassava Mosaic Disease has mostly neem widespread in Africa. But now the Global Cassava Partnerships for the 21st Century (GCP21) has called for urgent regional approach to halt the spread of CMD that is threatening cassava production in Southeast Asia especially Cambodia and Vietnam. The region accounts for about 55 million tons of cassava.

Dr Claude Fauquet, immediate past Director for the GCP21, says the proposal for a regional approach followed the IVth International Cassava Conference, Benin, June 11-15, 2018.

“There is a lot to learn from Africa, a region that had once contained the spread of the disease in the past,” says Dr Alfred Dixon, Director for Development & Delivery at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

The presentations included: report of the CMD outbreak; economic aspects; surveillance and strategies. The experts also agreed that CMD is mostly spreading by the transportation of infected cassava planting material.

The whitefly vectors of the virus causing the disease are present on cassava in the region and play a role in spreading virus within fields.The commercialization of the cassava industry in Southeast Asia offers opportunities for improving the flow of information to prevent movement of infected planting materials.

Mid-term action also includes importation, testing and multiplication of existing CMD-resistant material in several locations in the region; introduction segregating populations developed by introgression the source of CMD resistant present in African varieties into LAC and SEA improved materials.

Long-term action includes introgression of virus resistance genes into varieties that meet the regional needs.( Contacts:c.fauquet@cgiar.org  g.atser@cgiar.org)

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