Biotech Updates

Partnership to Enhance Cassava Production in Thailand

May 9, 2008

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) will partner with the Thai Tapioca Development Institute (TTDI) to develop cassava varieties that will enable smallholder farmers in Thailand to produce more  income. Cassava is the third most important food crop, after rice and maize, in Southeast Asia. Yet, it receives little attention from the scientific community at large. CIAT and TTDI aim to fill this research gap by developing high-yielding and high-starch containing cassava varieties suited to growing conditions in the country. They will also work to facilitate the adoption of new cassava varieties as well as agronomic techniques for the benefit of farming communities.

CIAT has recently worked with partners in Thailand, where average cassava yields increased by 53 percent (14 tons to 21 tons per ha) from 1994 to 2006. Currently, 98 percent of the varieties planted in the country consists of cassava developed from the CIAT germplasm. To improve capacity to identify other useful traits in cassava, CIAT will also offer training to Thai scientists, including faculty and students of Kasetsart University in Bangkok.

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