IITA and partners launch new project to improve cassava seed distribution and disease control in Rwanda
IITA and Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), together with Dutch partners, SPARK and Wageningen University, launched the Cassava Agribusiness Seeds System (CASS) project on 18 July in Kigali. The CASS project’s main objective is to help farmers have better access to clean cassava seed.
Farmers’ access to clean cassava seed is identified as a major challenge in the cassava seed system in Rwanda. The CASS project will harmonize an efficient business channel for delivery of quality cassava seed that are resistant to the most dangerous viral diseases that affect cassava productivity in Rwanda: Cassava Brown Streak Disease (known locally as Kabore) and Cassava Mosaic Disease (known locally as Ububembe).
Controlling cassava viral diseases and ensuring effective cassava seed distribution will result into higher yields, food security, and incomes. “The project aims to catalyze commercial production and distribution of improved cassava varieties with strong resistance to viral diseases and diverse end-user preferred attributes in Rwanda,” said Silver Tumwegamire, the Project Leader.
RAB and IITA will consolidate commercialized multiplication systems for both pre-basic and basic cassava clean seed initiated under the ongoing Cassava Brown Streak Disease and Cassava Mosaic Disease Control Project. The two seed categories form the first critical foundation of the overall functional commercialized seed system in Rwanda. The most viable models will be identified and tested for the subsequent seed categories, certified and quality declared seed, which farmers source to plant root production crops.
“Commercialization of cassava seed will help ensure quality and real time delivery of seed to the farmers, and improve the quality and quantity of their produce. Cassava seed commercialization will also lead to sustainability and ownership,” Dr Athanase Nduwumuremyi, Head of the Cassava research and technology transfer program at RAB explained.
A total budget of EUR1 million (over 1 billion Rwandan Francs) will be spent during the 3-year project operating in Rwanda and Burundi. Funding from NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development will strengthen The Netherlands–CGIAR research partnership on generating insights that contribute to improving seed systems in focus regions within Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.