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Cassava Brown Streak disease worries govt

THE Government has expressed concern over the fast-spreading of Cassava Brown Streak Disease in the country’s northern region.
Agriculture Minister Mtolo Phiri said there was need for the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute to partner with other agencies to develop short-to medium-term solutions to the challenge.
“If not quickly addressed, cassava brown streak disease has the potential to threaten household food security especially that 30 per cent of our population is dependent on cassava as a staple food,” Mr Phiri said.
He said this when he officially opened a stakeholders’ meeting on tackling the disease, held in Lusaka yesterday under the auspices of the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI).
At the same occasion, Senior Chief Kaputa of the Tabwa-speaking people of Northern Province said all the 16 agriculture camps in the district had been affected by the disease.
The traditional leader said that called for urgent intervention to prevent farmers from reversing the gains made by farmers in cassava growing.
CABI Southern Africa director Noah Phiri said the institution had embarked on farmer, traditional leader and other stakeholders’ sensitisation on mooting possible interventions towards eliminating the disease.
Dr Phiri said this was important in sustaining the national availability of cassava which was also used as a raw material in industries such as mining and breweries.

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