Stakeholders Convene to Shield Nigeria from Cassava Brown Streak Disease

The National Stakeholders Workshop on the Operational Modalities of the National Response Plan for the prevention of the disease in Nigeria is currently holding at the Ibeto Hotel, Gudu District, Abuja.

The workshop is been convened under the aegis of the Central and West African Virus Epidemiology (WAVE) Project for Root and Tuber Crops and supported by the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the project tagged “Central and West African Virus Epidemiology (WAVE) for Food Security” is aimed at mitigating the constraints imposed by viruses on cassava production in 10 West and Central African countries.

These countries include Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Cameroon.

The Cassava Brown Streak Virus also known as manioc, is a threat to cassava crops, a major staple food in Nigeria and other West and Central African countries. Although, currently not in Nigeria or any other West African country, the virus is devastating cassava farms in many Eastern, Southern and Central African countries.

The disease has led to a total loss of cassava roots, and the pattern of spread in the affected regions in recent times suggests that it is gradually moving closer to West Africa and thus a potential danger to cassava production in West African countries.

In a statement made available to AgroNigeria, WAVE Nigeria, South East Country Director, Dr. Chukwuemeka Nkere underscored the need for all stakeholders to partner to understand their different roles and responsibilities as regards the operation of the national response plan.

“One of the key objectives of the WAVE programme is to develop a well-documented country response action plan for pre-emptive management of cassava virus diseases especially CBSD.

“Following series of stakeholders’ consultations, the Nigerian response plan was developed and endorsed by the then Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Audu Ogbe,” he added.

Speaking to AgroNigeria earlier, Team Leader for the Covenant University Hub of WAVE, Dr Angela Eni had said that the project was working towards structuring mechanisms in West Africa to ensure that the disease doesn’t get into the region.

According to her, if the WAVE Project successfully puts a system in place to respond to cassava virus diseases, that system can remain in place to respond to other crop diseases in the future.

The Central and West African Virus Epidemiology (WAVE) is an international research program that aims to ensure food security in Africa through coordinated efforts to control the spread of root and tuber crops viral diseases affecting the livelihoods of African smallholder farmers.