Biotech Updates

Tanzania, BMGF to Launch Programs for Disease Resistant Cassavas

November 14, 2012

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives (MAFC) of Tanzania and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), along with its partners from the government, donor community, private sector and development organizations have launched three new projects to develop cassava varieties with resistance to Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) and Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) and to establish more sustainable seed systems for smallholder farmers' better access to these varieties.

The Cassava Varieties and Clean Seed to Combat CBSD and CMD (5CP) project will facilitate sharing of five of the best varieties from Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Uganda for regional testing across the countries to speed up the development of varieties with dual resistance to the two diseases. Another project, the Commercially Sustainable Quality Assured Cassava Seed System will develop and test supply chain models for the distribution of the newly released cassava varieties. The Community Action in Controlling Cassava Brown Streak Disease through Clean Seed project, on the other hand, will implement a community-based approach for managing and controlling CBSD.

All three projects will work with the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) to ensure that only disease-free planting material is disseminated and to develop a financially viable and sustainable approach to certification of planting material.

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