In 2015, a USD 15.75 million programme was launched to combat the spread of African cassava whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) in Africa – a key carrier (vector) of the viruses that cause cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown streak disease (CBSD).
Because cassava whitefly numbers have increased sharply since the 1990s, the spread of these diseases has also increased greatly. As a result, both diseases are now devastating East African cassava crops, which has led to recurrent famines and annual economic losses of more than USD 1.25 billion in nine East and Central African countries.
“White fly carried viruses are devastating East African cassava crops”
The new Cassava Whitefly Project is focused on understanding why cassava whitefly populations have increased so steeply in East and Central Africa (in order to begin creating sustainable future control solutions). The initiative is being led by Professor John Colvin, who is based at the National Research Institute at Greenwich University in the UK, and Dr Peter Sseruwagi of the Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute (MARI), in Tanzania. Its programme of work includes experts not only from those organisation but from 14 other partner organisation in 10 countries.
The Cassava Whitefly Project is one of those benefitting from the knowledge management and communications resources being provided by AgShare.Today.
To find out more about the Cassava Whitefly Project, go to http://cassavawhitefly.org/.