By Chinyere Ogbonna – West African Virus Epidemiology (WAVE), has warned Nigeria over possible outbreaks of two cassava diseases. Executive Director of WAVE, Justin Pita who gave the warning at the second Annual General Meeting of stakeholders from the West African sub-region in Abuja, listed the two new diseases as begomovirus and brown streak viruses.
He said the diseases which originated from East Africa have negatively affected cassava production in sub-Saharan Africa, and were moving already to Central and Western parts of Africa. He stressed that the federal government must act fast to forestall the outbreak of the diseases.
Mr. Pita said that WAVE was already collaborating with ten research institutes and universities in seven countries in the two African regions to monitor and predict the emergence, evolution and spread of the diseases, urging the federal government to train more food scientists to halt their outbreaks.
In a remark, Acting Executive Director, National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Abia State, Southeast Nigeria, Mr. Joseph Ukpabi said that the institute was by law empowered to carry out research into the genetic improvement, production, processing and storage of root crops in the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who was represented by Director of Root Crops in the ministry, Mr. Segun Ageni gave an assurance that the federal government would collaborate with WAVE to prevent the viruses from spreading to Nigeria.