15 June 2012

Rwanda: Farmers Must Know 'Cassava Mosaic Disease', How to Fight Against It for Better Production

Cassava mosaic disease is a very dangerous disease which attack cassava plant whose symptoms begin with leaves of cassava plant turning white or pale-yellow with pale green spots and will often be twisted, an unusual shape and stunted. Cassava disease causes low yields; according to members of Rwanda Agricultural Board.

Cassava mosaic is caused by a virus

Cassava mosaic disease is a major problem to cassava growers in Rwanda. The disease is caused by a virus which is moved from a plant to plant by the feeding of small insects called whiteflies. The whiteflies are attracted to the yellow color.

The disease goes into the stem and leaves of the plant. The planting material might already contain the disease before it is known.

Management of the cassava disease

Mutibagirana Evariste is one of the best farmers of cassava plants who is from Rwamagana district, Karenge sector in Rwanda. As a witness, he says that nowadays, he is able to produce the good harvest of cassava because he follows the advice of Rwanda Agriculture Board and he uses the varieties of cassava which resist to the cassava mosaic disease such as Mavoka, Dancilla and Mabakungahaze .

Mutibagirana added that with cassava plant which resists to cassava mosaic virus, he is able to produce 152kg from one plant of cassava while before with traditional types of cassava, he was not producing even 7 kg to one plant of cassava. With the resistant varieties, he says that he improves his agriculture at a high level.

According to Rwanda Agriculture Board "RAB", the good way given to farmers to manage this disease is to use the disease-free planting from an authorized source. They are also advised to use varieties of cassava that are resistant to the disease, such as "Ndamirabana, Seruruseseke, Mavoka,Garukunsubire and Mbakungahaze varieties.

Farmers also should use yellow sticky cards for trapping whiteflies. This can be done by placing 1 to 4 yellow sticky cards per 300 square meters field area.

Spread petroleum jelly or used motor oil on yellow painted plywood, 6cm x 15cm in size or 30cm x 30 cm. Place traps near the plants but far away enough to prevent the leaves from sticking to the board. Traps when hung should be positioned 60 to 70 cm above the plants. Replace traps at least once a week.

Remove sick plants, destroy and bury them. With using those strategies given by Rwanda Agriculture Board, the farmers of cassava plants will have a good harvest and will achieve the good level of cultivating cassava not only in Rwanda but also at the international level.

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