KILIFI (Xinhua) --
Kenya has successfully
conducted a research on viability of genetically modified
cassava that has been ongoing since 2004 to pave way for its
commercialization, an official said this week.
Munga, the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research
Organization (KALRO) cassava breeder said on Thursday that
genetically engineered version of this indigenous tuber is now
ready to undergo national performance trials before releasing it
for planting by farmers in all agro-ecological zones.
"The new variety is resistant to Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD)
and Cassava Brown Steak Disease (CBSD), the diseases that have
caused massive losses to farmers in the eastern African region,"
Munga told reporters during a field visit at the cassava
confined field in the coastal county of Kilifi.
She said the new variety that is virus-resistant and
nutritionally-enhanced will provide farmers with an alternative
to traditional varieties that are highly susceptible to
Munga noted that the research has helped identify a variety
that is resistant to CBSD that was declared by the United
Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) as a threat to
"We look forward to mainstreaming cassava into national and
county government strategies to help contribute to national food
security," Munga remarked.
She emphasized the need for communities to appreciate cassava
as an important alternative to maize since its uses surpasses
According to FAO’s 2000 report, cassava is cultivated in
around 40 African countries.
It is the second most important
food crop in Africa after maize.
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