Gates is supporting the battle against the cassava disease through his foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Cassava Brown Streak Virus Disease and other related virus strains are responsible for up to $100 million in losses each year in Africa due to crop destruction.
American billionaire, Bill Gates, has lent support to 12 countries in Africa in battling Cassava Brown Streak Virus Disease, a disease that causes $100 million loss annually across the continent.
Gates, according to a report by The Guardian, is supporting the cause through his foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Delegates from the 12 African countries with support from Gates Foundation and the West African Virus Epidemiology will meet in Cotonou, the Benin Republic from Thursday, June 7, 2018, to Saturday, June 9, 2018, to discuss joint actions towards responding to the threat of Cassava Viral Diseases (CVD), ravaging the continent.
Convened by the government of Benin Republic in partnership with the West African Virus Epidemiology (WAVE) Program, the high-level meeting is poised to nip the Cassava Brown Streak Virus Disease in the bud before impending spread.
With contributions and submissions from national, regional and international cassava stakeholders, coordinator of the WAVE program in the Benin Republic, Prof. Corneille Ahanhanzo said there is an urgent need to develop a joint regional emergency response plan to the impending threats by the disease.
“Given the important role of cassava for food security in Africa and the impending threats posed by CBSD that is currently devastating the crop in Eastern and Central Africa and making its way to West Africa, there is an urgent need to develop a joint regional emergency response plan,” Ahanhanzo said.
Ahanhanzo further said the conclusions of the meeting would serve as success driver for sustainable food security in Africa.
The cassava brown streak virus (CBSV) was first discovered 70 years ago in the former Tanganyika territory of East Africa, Tanzania. An endemic viral outbreak progressed throughout the Eastern African coastal cassava-growing areas from Southern Kenya, through Tanzania to the Zambezi river in Mozambique. Cassava, a tuberous, starch-rich plant is a primary food source for many families in Sub Saharan Africa.
The loss of crops like cassava has a large effect on food sources and economic stability; however, the extent of the loss cannot be fully determined until the crop is harvested.
The virus transmission is most commonly attributed to whiteflies (two whitefly species, Bemisia after (Priesner & Hosny) and Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius)) and the disease spread can be rapid, resulting in incidences exceeding 50% in some coastal regions of Africa.
CBSV and other related virus strains are responsible for up to $100 million in losses each year in Africa due to crop destruction.