The National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) has developed a cassava variety that is resistant to the African whitefly.
This was announced on March 6 by the NARO Deputy Director General for Agriculture Technology Promotion, Dr. Sadik Kassim.
“One is a variety currently codenamed Nkumba. It’s very resistant to Whitefly and also shows resistance to the virus itself. We are expecting that this variety will soon be released and will go to the farmers, and of course with its associated high yield,” Dr Kassim said.
He explained that with the average yield of the newly resistant cassava varieties at 12.8 tons per hectare, it will enable farmers to produce enough cassava for food and income.
However, according to Kassim, the project has also discovered that there are four species of whiteflies in Africa instead of one, but they have gone ahead and discovered ways to control them.
According to Kassim, brewing industries have started using the Nkumba variety to make beer.
The African Cassava Whitefly Project is searching for answers to significantly reduce the cassava whitefly abundance in the cassava-growing regions of East and Central African countries, resulting in hunger, recurrent famines, and annual losses of more than USD 1.2 billion.