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?