A quick multiplication of cassava clean seeds is indispensable in the efforts to scale up new disease-resistant cassava varieties on about 200,000 hectares in Rwanda. Cassava is the second most grown crop after banana in terms of cultivated area and the fourth most consumed staple crop in the nation.
Athanase Nduwumuremyi, is the Coordinator of Roots and Tubers Programme and Cassava breeder at Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resource Development Board (RAB). He has stated that the efforts by seed multipliers are very necessary, considering that many farmers are still harvesting lower yields using traditional seeds.
“The average of cassava production is 15 tons per hectare due to using traditional seeds that have diseases yet model farmers using the cassava clean seed are harvesting over 35 tons per hectare,” Nduwumuremyi explained.
Rwanda currently produces around three million tons of cassava as average production. Scaling up new varieties could increase to about eight million tons per year with improved varieties and appropriate use of fertilizers.
In order to ensure sustainable food security for over 700,000 families that grow cassava crops, Nduwumuremyi said increasing cassava clean seeds multipliers will be very helpful.
“We have taken four years doing research on cassava varieties that can resist diseases. We 17 imported varieties from outside research centres and eight of them are performing well. Some of them have been deployed among farmers while others will be deployed soon. We will also work with professional cassava clean seed multipliers to ensure the seeds are scaled up across the country,” he told newtimes.co.rw.
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