LimitCBSD : Limiting the Impact of Cassava Brown Streak Disease on Smallholders, Women and the Cassava Value Chain

Project identifier 27-LIMITCBSD
Project Status finished
Start date 2012-12-18
End date 2015-12-07
Roadmap Theme
  • Sustainable intensification: Animal and crop health
  • Expansion and improvement of agricultural markets and trade: Bio-economic strategies
  • Type of Project Applied research project
    Type of Project Personal capacity building projects
    Keyword Resistance mechanism
    Location Tanzania, United Republic of; Kenya; Malawi
    Budget 776 116
    Main Funder African Union Commission (AURG 1)
    Coordinator University of Greenwich
  • Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute (NARI)
  • Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre (TFNC)
  • Egerton University
  • Department of Agricultural Research & Technical Services (DARTS)
  • Project Web Site
    Documents AURG projects phase 1 booklet


    Cassava is a major subsistence crop for many millions of people in Africa. Since 2004 the crop has been severely affected by an epidemic of Cassava Brown Streak Disease across a swathe of East and Central Africa from southern Somalia to Mozambique and from DR Congo to Kenya. The disease is caused by a virus that is transmitted from plant to plant mainly through vegetative cuttings, but also by whiteflies. Affected tubers rot, rendering them unfit for consumption or for processing into flour, and when the disease first strikes an area, losses can be very high.

    Resistance to CBSD does exist among some cassava varieties and farmers do, over time, adapt but as almost nothing was known about the nature of resistance the adaptation process can be hit and miss.

    The ‘Limit CBSD’ project deployed the latest molecular techniques to systematically test for resistant varieties, identify the genes responsible and the specific resistance mechanisms. Working in the field with plant breeders from national programmes, project partners can now transfer CBSD resistance to cassava varieties preferred by farmers. As well as strengthening the capacity of national programmes the project transferred CBSD diagnostic capacity through a PhD student to a laboratory in Tanzania. Another success story has emerged around the use of infected tubers for poultry feed. The project has found that up to half of the maize traditionally fed to poultry can be replaced with infected tubers with no effect on meat production. Using infected tubers like this is one way farmers mitigate otherwise serious losses.