Disease Resistant and Biofortified Cassava Varieties Developed
Researchers at Namulonge in Uganda are working on the biofortification of cassava by developing new varieties with high levels of beta carotene, which converts into vitamin A upon consumption. These new varieties are also resistant to cassava mosaic disease.
"We have over 20 clones that have different colors beginning from light yellow to pink or deep orange cassava. The intensity of color reflects the quantity of carotene," says Dr. Robert Kawuki, a cassava breeder at Namulonge.
The yellow cassava varieties used for breeding were from Latin America, where the crop originated. The research started three years ago and is expected to finish after another three years. It is a long-time process because of the rigorous evaluation and selection stages being conducted. The project hopes to produce varieties that would most-likely be adopted by the farmers, and decrease the prevalent health problem of vitamin A deficiency in Uganda. The research is under the National Cassava Research Programme.
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This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)