Crop Biotech Update

Tanzania Has 2 New Cassava Varieties Resistant to CBSD and CMD

February 10, 2012

Two devastating diseases of cassava - cassava brown streak (CBSD) and cassava mosaic (CMD) have been fast spreading through East Africa. The good news is that collaborative research and conventional breeding work between Tanzanian Agricultural Research Institutes, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and International Center for Tropical Agriculture have developed two new varieties to address these diseases.

The resistant varieties, dubbed Pwani, Mkumba, Makutupora and Dodoma, are also high yielding. A potential harvest of 23- 51 tons/ha are expected against the current average yield of 10 tons/ha.

Edward Kanju, cassava breeder with IITA-Tanzania, said that the varieties were developed by crossing local varieties with those introduced from Latin America from CIAT in Colombia. "We used local varieties from Tanzania as sources of resistance to CBSD and for local adaptation and those from CIAT as sources of high yield and resistance to CMD and cassava green mites," he said.

The IITA press release is at http://www.iita.org/news-frontpage-feature