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Yield losses due to root and tuber crop diseases

In West and Central Africa, cassava, sweet potato and yam are the main root 

and tuber crops.  They are cultivated for food and are a major source of

dietary energy for low-income consumers. Despite a very important production,

the demand for cassava, sweet potato and yam tubers in West and Central

Africa is still exceeding the production due to the pest and disease impact.

Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) and Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) 

may cause losses ranging from 47 to 100%. Similary, sweet potato virus 

disease (SPVD)can  cause 56 to 90% losses under severe viral disease.

Viral diseases can cause yield losses of more than 50% on yam. 

EACMV-UG and CBSV: A Threat to West African farmers

An extremely severe epidemic of CMD caused by EACMV-UG started in Uganda in 1990, devasted fields and caused food shortages and famine. This epidemic affected at least nine countries in East and Central Africa, causing an estimated annual economic loss of US $1.9-2 billion. Unfortunately, an EACMV-UG variant has now been detected inWest Africa, precisely in Burkina Faso. Another devastating epidemic in East Africa was ignited by a major pathogen, Cassava brown streak virus (CBSV), causing CBSD. CBSD is seriously affecting cassava production in Eastern Africa and was recently reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and now moving towards West Africa.

Food security in West and Central Africa

 If CBSD reaches West Africa, it will create a disaster that will not only impact root crop farmers who are mainly women, but will destabilize the whole region. In Nigeria, a country of 170 million inhabitants, cassava is one of the most important food crops. Therefore, If a CBSD epidemic were declared in that country, it would have incalculable consequences for the whole West Africa region will be disaster as it would lead to food shortage and famine ofunprecedented proportion in the region. Therefore, it is imperative to be proactive and look for appropiate measures to prevent or to control CBSD in the region.

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