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Originally published on cgiar.org by:International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on Jun 29, 2007

Efforts by the Crop Crisis Control Project (C3P) to mitigate the effects of cassava mosaic virus disease and banana xanthomonas wilt (BXW) in six countries of East and Central Africa are impacting positively on the lives of thousands of farmers in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.


Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the C3P is being implemented by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and 35 other regional and local partners. The project which commenced in April 2006 is expected to end in October 2007.


According to the quarterly report of the Project, a total of 706.5 hectares of cassava resistant materials are in production across the six countries. This represents 30% increase over the C3P target. "Using a proxy of one ha to serve 200 households over two cropping seasons. it is estimated that the 706.5 ha produced under C3P will serve 141,300 farming households and have a direct impact on 850,000 people and an indirect impact on 1.7 million people", says the report. In addition, an estimated 11,304 farmers have been trained on BXW management practices in the six countries, which is double the C3P target. The training has a direct impact on 45,216 households, exclusive of households gaining knowledge of BXW from radio and poster messages across the six countries.


Cassava provides daily caloric intake for more than 200 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and IITA has developed several improved varieties resistant to the CMD and other diseases. The varieties are drought resistant, early maturing, high yielding and low in cyanide content. An estimated 20 million people eat banana or plantain as their major source of dietary carbohydrates in Africa. The two crops are particularly important in East Africa where they constitute the main staple food for about 50% of the population. Here, the annual consumption reaches over 400 kg per person. IITA has also developed several appropriate technologies for improved production of the crop. According to FAO, more than 4 million hectares are planted into banana in Africa with an average yield of 15tons per hectare.