New emerging cassava diseases

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    source: American Phytopathological Society

    I’ve decided to write on this blog article because I want to create awareness on the existence of this disease and its impact on cassava production. Although, the disease has not been recorded nor observed in Nigeria not because we are immune to its effects.

    The two diseases are begomovirus and brown streak viruses.

    The genus Begomovirus is a genus of viruses, in the family Geminiviridae while Cassava brown streak virus disease is also a damaging disease of cassava plants. I will not bore you with scientific names or terms; just understand the fact that both diseases are viruses and are troublesome in East Africa. They are plant viruses that as a group have a very wide host range, infecting dicotyledonous plants.

    These diseases originated from East Africa and it’s now spreading towards Central Africa and West Africa (Nigeria not excluded)

    Why do will need to take necessary action against these viruses?

    In sub-Saharan Africa, negative effects of these viruses had been recorded in cassava production; therefore, our government must take urgent measures to forestall their outbreak in Nigeria.

    Since we are yet to experience it in Nigeria, there is need to create proper awareness of its existence and prevent it from spreading to our country.

    Way Forward?

    In order to tackle these challenges, there is need to understand how the disease in question spreads, this will enable us to plan ahead for its control.

    Role of the research institutes and federal government come into play?

    The Federal Government must be aware of the existence of the diseases and must be determined to train more food scientists to tackle them.

    Also, the West African Virus Epidemiology (WAVE), which is the body in charge of addressing diseases of root/tuber crops, must endeavor to monitor the emergence, evolution, and spread of these viruses.

    This could be achieved by collaborative research with other research institutes. However, our universities should not be left behind as well.

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