ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) --
African root and tuber crops researchers were on
Monday challenged to develop a new scientific mechanism to control
and subsequently eliminate root and tuber-based diseases to
transform from subsistence farming to large commercial and industry
Hussein Mansoor, Director for research and development in the
Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, made the
call when speaking here during the International Symposium for
Tropical Root Crops-Africa branch.
“In Tanzania, like in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa yields
from roots and tubers are extremely low. This is due to among other
factors, limited use of improved varieties, and insufficient use of
yield-enhancing farm inputs poor farming practices, inadequate
knowledge and skill among producers,” he said.
“Our farmers have inadequate modern agriculture production skills
and knowledge, access to affordable financial services and are
marginal actors in most food value chains,” he said, adding: “The
science you do every day should integrate components that would
reduce or totally eliminate these bottlenecks.”
Root and tuber crops are currently threatened by many new pests and
diseases, due to climate change. The production of roots and tuber
planting materials has not been attractive to key private sector
actors in the seed industry, resulting in the poor adoption of new
varieties generated by our breeders.
Mansoor added that root and tuber are versatile staples that can
enable Africa to meet its food and nutrition security as they
produce more food per unit area of land than most crops.
“However they also suffer from high post-harvest losses they spoil
very easily and storage is a challenge,” he said.
“The meeting brings together the world’s leading researchers on root
and tuber crops to Tanzania who have a great potential to improve
health across Africa,” said Professor Lateef Sanni President of the
ISTRC-AB from the federal university of Agriculture Nigeria.
Victor Manyong, Director for Eastern Africa in the IITA said that
addressing post-harvest losses and markets cannot be overemphasized
in the efforts to boost production for root and tuber crops in