Republic of the Congo: ICRC helps fight cassava mosaic virus disease

Monday, December 24, 2007

Cassava is the staple food for many people in the Republic of the Congo. Cassava mosaic virus disease is threatening their food supply and their economic independence.

The virus can slash harvests by up to 90%, causing grave food shortages.

The only known solution is to have specialist laboratories select varieties of cassava that are resistant to the acute form of the virus, propagate them and distribute them to farmers.

Since 2006, the ICRC has set up 15 fields for propagating resistant cassava varieties (Liyayi, Mayombe, Musimwa, Malyoha, Sawa sawa and Mapendo) in the districts of Kinkala, Mindouli, Kindamba, Vinza and Kimba.

Between 15 October and 11 December 2007, the ICRC harvested stems from these fields and distributed cuttings to 100 groups of cassava farmers in the department of Pool. Between them, 1,500 families in Kinkala, Mindouli, Kindamba, Vinza and Kimba received 332,743 cuttings, along with agricultural implements and training in fighting the disease.

The ICRC has also imported Mvuazi, Nsansi, Butamu and Disanka, four high-yield varieties of cassava that are resistant to mosaic virus disease, from the Institut International des Technologies Agricoles in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo). In total, 14,750 mini-cuttings of these new varieties have been planted in three propagation fields in Kinkala, Mindouli and Kindamba. Farmers will also be receiving cuttings from these plants.

Source: International Committee of the Red Cross