April 19, 2024

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Disease-Resistant and Climate-Resistant Cassava Seeds Delivered to Farmers in Southern Province

After eight years of extensive research on disease-resistant and climate-resistant cassava seeds, these innovative cassava have finally been distributed to  farmers in the Southern Province for cultivation.

The distribution of these seeds comes as a response to the farmers’ longstanding struggle with disease attacks on their cassava plantation and their inability to adapt to changing weather conditions. With the introduction of these new seeds, farmers are hopeful that they will be able to achieve higher yields.

The Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB) conducted the research on these groundbreaking cassava seeds under the guidance of Dr. Nduwumuremyi Athanase, Senior Research Fellow & Cassava breeder at RAB.

Several farmers who participated in the exhibition of these new seeds expressed their plans to expand their farming operations due to the resilience demonstrated by these seeds against adverse weather conditions.

One farmer from the Kinazi sector shared, “We had stopped growing cassava because the seeds we used were susceptible to blight disease and failed to thrive. But with these new seeds, we are hopeful that cassava farming will make a comeback in a new and improved form.”

Dr. Nduwumuremyi Athanase, the lead researcher, revealed that six of the disease-resistant seeds have already been distributed to farmers, with an additional ten varieties expected to be added. These seeds have demonstrated resistance against diseases.

“There are already some farmers who possess these seeds, and some have even started selling them in the market. We anticipate no shortage of supply,” stated Dr. Nduwumuremyi Athanase. He emphasized the importance of supporting traditional cassava seed growers by encouraging farmers to purchase from authorized and reputable sources.

Dr. Nduwumuremyi Athanase further emphasized the economic significance of cassava cultivation, stating, “We aim for the cassava plant to contribute to the country’s economy, as agriculture serves as its foundation.”

Bikomo Alfred, representing the administration of the Southern Province, acknowledged that cassava is a crucial crop cultivated across all the province. He emphasized that providing farmers with disease-resistant and climate-adaptive seeds would enable them to replace old, rot-prone seeds that struggle to withstand changing weather conditions.

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