Cassava Song Points to Importance of Vital Food Source

In many places in the world, cassava is much more than a staple crop, like potatoes and rice. At times, for many families, it’s the only crop. So when your only source of nutritional food is threatened, it’s a big deal. How big a deal? They wrote a song about it.

Two pandemic cassava diseases in the Great Lakes Region of eastern and central Africa threaten the incomes and food security of farmers in six different countries: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Catholic Relief Services, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture and Food, and Environmental Research Agency of UK designed the Great Lakes Cassava Initiative (GLCI) to help 60 local partners diagnose and monitor the diseases and predict their spread which continuously pushes its way west and south, destroying much of the crops along the way.

One of GLCI’s goals is to work with over 3,000 farmer groups to increase crop yield by 50 percent for around 1.15 million farm families. GLCI’s hybrid approach of agricultural and business training, technology, and distribution of disease resistant cassava seed, is expected to help participating farmers generate $58 million in revenue.

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