Officials of Crop Research Institute (CRI)-Kumasi have organised a day’s training for Agric extension officers and elite farmers drawn from four districts in Ghana.
The capacity building event which forms part of a one-year project called “Central West Africa Virus Epidemiology (WAVE)”, focused on equipping them with a technical know-how vis-à-vis the usage of a newly introduced mobile App called “NURU”; an application used for the detection of cassava viruses, diseases and pests.
It a special scientific technology designed to curb the spread of cassava diseases especially the Cassava Mosaic Virus Disease (CMD).
Premised on the high percentage yield losses (20-95) caused by the CMD in Ghana, officials of CRI trained the participants to in turn pass on the knowledge to other farmers as a way of mitigating the challenge.
The training turned out more practical as facilitators took the participants to a trial field of cassava plantation and demonstrated how the NURU app detects a diseased crop.
They were also schooled on how to download the application, register and login to commence usage.
Delivering a presentation at the event, Mr. Allen Oppong (Senior Research Scientist and Coordinator for the Project in Ghana) underscored that cassava production in Ghana is facing great constraint.
He indicated several factors including disease and pests and notable among them is the Cassava Mosaic Virus Disease (CMD).
The effect of CMD he explained is more severe when plants are infected in the early stages of growth than when infected later.
Addressing the media, he admonished farmers to embrace the initiative since it will enhance the productivity of their crops.
The Central West Africa Virus Epidemiology (WAVE) project is funded by the Global Development Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and DFID (OFCD), UK.
Participating countries are; Ghana, Cote d’Ivore, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cameroun, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Congo.
Partnering institutions are; CSIR-Crop Research Institute-Kumasi, University of Cambridge (UK), Rothamsted Rosach (UK), National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) Uganda among others.
By Enock Akonnor; Editor-in-chief