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The Cassava Mosaic Disease Pandemic in Burundi
Cassava mosaic disease was first identified in Burundi in late 2002. Since then, it has spread to all 16 Provinces of the country, having a tremendous impact on the food and livelihoods security of the vast majority of Burundi’s estimated 7.4 million inhabitants. Together with sweet potatoes, cassava comprises an estimated 70% of the diet of rural households. ISABU has been leading the research effort on CMD-resistant varieties. Since 2003, a large number of CMD-resistant varieties have been imported from Uganda and have been field-tested in Burundi for their continued resistance to CMD. Seven (7) varieties were initially shown to have good levels of resistance during initial screening in northeastern Burundi. Subsequent assessments of multiplication blocks under strong disease pressure, however, have indicated that only five of the seven have the high levels of resistance required for the Burundi CMD situation. The five comprise: MM96/5280, MM96/0287, MM96/7204, MM96/7688 and ABBEY-IFE.

A total of approximately 194 ha is currently under multiplication by ISABU, FAO, CRS and other NGOs in Burundi. While geographic targeting using data on historical production, food insecurity, etc., would be helpful, the most important next steps for Burundi to recover cassava production are to rapidly expand its multiplication efforts while providing technical supervision to assure the production of disease-free cuttings.
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