Experts in the agricultural sector have gathered to brainstorm on possible strategies to adopt in combating the widespread of Cassava diseases in West and Central Africa. Benin Republic is the destination of choice for the ongoing West Africa Virus Epidemiology Program (WAVE),
Some issues have surfaced, in which the principal subject is the need to intimate African governments and traditional rulers on the urgency of setting up a regional plan. The plan will be aimed at responding to threat posed by cassava viral diseases on food security in Africa.
The meeting is also sensitize cassava stakeholders, institutional managers and traditional rulers on the socio-economic issues raised by cassava viral disease.
The WAVE program which was founded in 2015 and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Department for international Development is committed to improving the productivity of root and tuber crops in West and Central Africa.It does this through the development of effective methods for the control of viral diseases.
An impressive number of dignitaries have been spotted at the meeting to weigh in on possible solutions to effect in addressing the disturbing issue. Some of the bigwigs at the event includes, Minister of Education, Scientific Research and Training, Benin, Mrs Marie-Odile Attanasso; Minister of Agriculture, Benin, Mr Gaston Doussouttour and a host of others.
Other stakeholders in attendance are technical expert from each WAVE implementing countries, representative of WAVE partner institutions, representatives of international and regional organizations (IDB, ADB, ECOWAS, UEMCA) as well as, national and international media.
The phase one of the WAVE program which ends in 2018 has had significant success in several areas including, the training of qualified staff, harmonized diagnostic tools and protocols for effective regional surveillance of cassava viral diseases. The capacity building of cassava stakeholders in terms of disease management has been strengthened in all member countries, amongst other notable achievements.