The African continent still has to fight for the safeguard of its agricultural heritage. In fact, according to researchers, a formidable virus threatens cassava production on the continent.
The virus was identified decades ago in Tanzania, but has since gradually migrated to the west of the continent.
Experts call it ‘Cassava Ebola‘.
The food security of the region is really threatened because the calculations show that 80% of the African population consume cassava.
How does the virus work?
The virus is spread by whiteflies. Men can also be vectors of transmission when carrying cassava cuttings. But cassava is a vital subsistence crop in Africa.
Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a program is being implemented to fight the disease with hope of containing it and then neutralizing it.
“The brown streak of cassava, a viral disease that causes the loss of 90-100% of production in Central Africa, is moving towards West Africa. It’s a threat to be taken very seriously,” says Dr. Justin Pita, executive director of the West African virus epidemiology (WAVE) program, which focuses on food security and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.