Taro resistant to leaf blight ready to go

Over at Pestnet, plant protection experts are wondering why taro varieties resistant to leaf blight are just sitting around in Pacific genebanks rather than making their way to Cameroon, where the disease has just been spotted.

I find it quite quite extraordinary that we cannot attract donor support to avert a food crisis in Cameroon. The varieties they need are already in PNG and Samoa –- the result of donor funded programmes. Other plant health issues like viruses have also been largely sorted –- again by donor funding. A lot of the material is sitting in tissue culture waiting to go. What is the sticking point to get some over there? What about Alocasia that became a staple in Samoa over the shortage there. That would probably be a quicker and more reliable option than plantain which as we know has enough of its own problems in Africa, including the resident black leaf streak which caused a food crisis in its own right when it arrived there. What is now needed to get it moving.

Is it intellectual property issues? Or just ignorance of the existence of these varieties?

4 Replies to “Taro resistant to leaf blight ready to go”

  1. I am very happy for the suggestions made to screen resistant genotypes for my country, Cameroon.
    If anyone can also help in that direction, I will be more than please
    I would also like to be connected to the existing network for more collaborations.
    The lost of this commodity will mean much to lots of consumers and producers of taro in a least three of the ten regions of Cameroon.
    Thanks in advance
    Please keep me posted.

  2. I can only repeat what I said previously. We have a world network for the improvement of edible aroids that includes, taro and cocoyam; Cameroon is not a member. But if someone in the government requested our help I am confident assistance would be given. The assistance would be varieties from the Pacific that have been bred for resistance to taro leaf blight. The introduction of the varieties has to be done through govt agencies because of plant quarantine concerns. Import licences have to be issued, IP documents signed, phytosanitary documents raised, etc., etc. This is not difficult, but takes time, and has to involve govt agencies. Many countries in the network, and there are 16 worldwide, have received varieties since the project got going in March this year. grahame

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