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The Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD) Pandemic
The Cassava Mosaic Disease Pandemic CMD has been recognized in East Africa for more than a century, but for much of this time it has been considered a minor problem with limited impact on the region’s cassava production. In the last two decades, however, this benign situation has changed dramatically. Rapid spread of unusually severe CMD (now known to be associated with a particularly virulent form of the causal virus) was reported from north-central Uganda in the late 1980s. It has since expanded as a “pandemic” to cover a vast area of East and Central Africa, with devastating effects on cassava production. The zone currently affected by the CMD pandemic now covers all of Uganda, western Kenya, southern Sudan, eastern DRC, north-western Tanzania, all of Burundi and all of Rwanda (apart from Cyangugu region) (see table below and sample disease images). It is arguably the greatest single threat to food staple production in the sub-region. A recent assessment of the pandemic’s impact estimates the area of East and Central Africa affected at 2,600,000 ha giving rise to losses of 22 million metric tons annually. Virtually all of the locally available varieties cultivated by farmers have proved to be susceptible to the severe CMD characteristic of the “pandemic”, and a common response of farmers to the effects of the disease has been the abandonment of cassava cultivation. The impact on the production of cassava has been devastating and as cassava is the primary food staple in much of the affected area, food security is drastically undermined.

Country Currently Affected Immediately Affected
Burundi Entire country -
DRC North kivu & South kivu provinces Maniema province
Kenya Western and Nyanza Provinces -
Rwanda Entire country (ex. Cyangugu) Cyangugu Prefecture
Tanzania Kagera, Mwanza, Mara and Kigoma Regions Kigoma Distric (Kigoma Region), Shinyanga Region
Uganda Entire country -

CMD Background Information links...
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