CSIR begins ‘Together let’s save our Cassava’ campaign

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Crops Research Institute (CRI) has intensified campaign against cassava diseases in the country. 

The campaign is aimed at promoting food security for the staple crop which is also an industrial crop for flour and starch production. 

The campaign dubbed “Together let’s save our cassava” seeks to create awareness of major cassava diseases that adversely affect the cassava productivity and sensitise farmers on how to minimise the disease impact or eradicate it completely.

At a sensitisation training programme organised for about 100 farmers in the Atebubu enclave in the Bono East Region on Friday, Dr Allen Oppong, a senior Research Scientist at the Crop Research Institute said the awareness and sensitisation programme had become necessary because of the security threats these cassava diseases posed to the staple crop, not only in Ghana but the entire continent of Africa. 

He mentioned the cassava mosaic viral disease, which he said was endemic in the country and had no cure, affected productivity of the crop in the country, adding that there were others such as cassava mosaic branch disease which are common in Central Africa, but posed threat to Ghana. 

Dr Oppong, who is also the WAVE Africa campaigner of crop, said it was imperative for policy makers and all other stakeholders to come to address the issue before it reaches crisis level. 

He said cassava contributed 21 per cent of Agriculture Gross Domestic product and that all efforts must be on hand to save the situation. 

The senior scientist advised the farmers to adopt good farming practices, such as planting improved varieties, weeding their farms early as well as report the disease to Agriculture Extension officers for early remedy. 

The Central and West Africa virus epidemiology for root and tuber crops project was commissioned by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UK AID supported by CORAF  to empower smallholder farmers and relevant stakeholders to manage viral diseases of root and tubers crops in West and Central Africa in a coordinated manner. 

The Atebubu Municipal Director of MoFA, Stephen Aidoo, in an address assured his outfit’s readiness to assist farmers in the Atebubu area to deal with the issue. 

He appealed to the participants to share the knowledge acquired to other farmers in order to bring the disease under control. 

FROM DANIEL DZIRASAH, ATEBUBU

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