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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kilifi farmers ready to commercialize genetically modified cassava

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.

Theresia 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 diseases.

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 food security.

"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 many crops.

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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SEE ALSO:

Kenya may commercialize genetically modified cotton next March

Kenya plans on using genetically modified animals in research

Kenya is now likely to release genetically modified cut flowers

             

 

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