By The Inspirer.
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) together with Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), and the Dutch partners SPARK and Wageningen University launched the Cassava Agribusiness Seeds System (CASS) project that aims at enhancing cassava seeds distribution and disease control in the country.
The project launch took place I Kigali in the middle of July 2019.
CASS project comes as a response to cassava seeds system and distribution in Rwanda, as many farmers claim limited access to clean cassava seeds.
Its main focus is to harmonise an efficient business channel of delivery of quality cassava seeds, that have the capacity to resist to most dangerous viral diseases that affect cassava productivity in Rwanda such as Cassava Brown Streak Disease (Known as Kabore) and Cassava Mosaic Disease (Known as Ububembe).
Officials said that Controlling cassava viral diseases and ensuring effective cassava seeds distribution will result into higher yields, food security, and incomes.
“The project aims to commercially produce and distribute quality seeds of improved cassava varieties with strong resistance to viral diseases and diverse end-user preferred attributes in Rwanda,” says Dr. Silver Tumwegamire, the project leader.
In the course of the project, RAB and IITA will consolidate commercialized multiplication systems for both pre-basic and basic cassava clean seeds initiated under the on-going 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. Most viable models will be identified and tested for the sub-sequent seed categories, certified and quality declared seeds, that farmers source to plant root production crops.
“Commercialisation of cassava seeds will help ensure quality and real-time delivery of seeds to farmers, hence improving quality and quantity produce. Cassava seeds commercialisation will also lead to sustainability and ownership,” Dr. Athanase Nduwumuremyi, Head of cassava research and technology transfer program at RAB explains.
A total budget of EUR1 Million (over Rwf1 billion) will be spent during 3 years of the project, operating in Rwanda and Burundi, thanks to donation by NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development to strengthen the Netherlands- Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research CGIAR research partnership on generating insights that contribute to improving seed systems in focus regions within Asia and Sub-Sahara Africa.
Rwanda’s cassava production increased from over 930,000 tonnes in 2016 to over 1.1 million tonnes in 1018, according to information from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI ).
Cassava remains one of Rwanda’s major staple food crops as it takes a large share of Rwandans’ diet.
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