The cultivation of Cassava in eight districts of Zambia where the crop is dominantly grown is under threat following an outbreak of cassava brown streak disease that has a 100 percent destruction rate.
Cassava brown streak disease is caused by two viruses namely the Cassava brown streak and the Ugandan brown streak virus, which infects the cassava plants causing damage to the leaves, stems and roots.
Addressing the media today, Minister of Agriculture, Michael Katambo, said that according to information gathered by the Zambia agriculture research institute, the brown streak disease has been noticed in Chienge, Kaputa, Kapombo, Zambezi, Solwezi and Chavuma Districts.
He told Journalists that the disease has spread to Zambia as a result of an influx of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who may have carried cassava stems for cultivation.
In order to address the threat on cassava, a total of K5,508,800 has been earmarked in the 2019 to effectively manage and contain the disease.
The Minister has discouraged farmers wishing to plant or replant the crop to seek consultation front extension officers who would in turn provide the farmers with clean planting that are developed by the Zambia agriculture research institute.