Institute Warns Against Outbreak Of Cassava Killer-Disease


The National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, Abia State, has warned against the outbreak of the deadly Cassava Brown Steak Disease (CBSD).
He gave the warning recently during the launch of WAVE project, a campaign against the dreaded CBSD in Umudike, near Umuahia.
According to a report made available to our correspondent, agricultural researchers from Ivory Coast, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Togo and Ghana attended.
The institute advised the federal government to arrest the situation, saying the disease could affect the economy if not checked on time.
It warned that the outbreak of CBSD which attacks mainly cassava, could cost the economy about N400 billion ($2bn) yearly.
NRCRI said it based its loss assessment on the effect the disease had in countries it had attacked in the past, stressing that those who do not learn from history plan to fail.
The institute in the statement further said the disease has not yet reached Nigeria or any West African country.
“There is great need to prepare against it as it is already having devastating effects in some East African nations like Kenya,” it said.
The institute stated that as an organisation with a mandate for cassava research and development, it was  taking a preemptive initiative to tackle the CBSD threat in Nigeria.
In his address, the Executive Director of the institute, Dr. Julius Okonkwo noted the importance of the WAVE project, saying that it would help to save the continent from serious embarrassment.
He noted that the institute has made tremendous progress in developing value-added products in cassava bread, cakes, donought, chin-chin, ginger drinks and soup thickner.
Launching the project, Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, represented by the secretary to the state government, Dr Eme Okoro, praised the project, saying that it fits into the government’s programme in agriculture.
He also praised the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for initiating the research to take pre-emptive position against the dreaded crop disease.