African Cassava Whitefly Project


The African Cassava Whitefly Project (ACWP) is working to provide an understanding of the causes of significantly increased cassava whitefly numbers in East and Central Africa. Because the insect is a vector for key cassava viruses, outbreaks of the African cassava whitefly are responsible for crop losses as high as 47% in nine East and Central African countries resulting in hunger, recurrent famines and annual losses of more than US$1.25 billion. ACWP is working to improve cassava whitefly control and reduce the spread of whitefly-borne cassava virus pandemics to combat this outbreak and improve food security for the millions of people affected. 


The project has five main research aims:

  1. To gain the first definitive understanding of African cassava whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) systematics
  2. To identify factors driving cassava whitefly outbreaks and super-abundance
  3. To understand whitefly resistance in cassava and create the foundations for developing varieties that possess both whitefly and virus-disease resistances
  1. To improve our understanding of cassava whitefly by conducting transcriptomic and genomic studies of African cassava whitefly
  2. To establish socio-economic and base-line survey data for future impact assessments
  • National Resources Institute, University of Greenwich (NRI)
  • Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD)
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • Cornell University
  • Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS)
  • Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea (IHSM)
  • International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
  • National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI)
  • Natural History Museum
  • Royal Holloway University of London
  • Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI-Mikocheni)
  • The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)
  • The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (THUJ)
  • The University of Manchester
  • The University of Western Australia (UWA)
  • University of California (UCR)
  • Zhejiang University
ACWP photo

Dr John Colvin

Project dates:
Project focus location(s): Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda