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UMUCASS33: the new bug-busting, high-harvesting, taste-tingling cassava variety now in Nigeria

cassava-sky n-palmer ciat-squareGCP is delighted to announce the release of UMUCASS33, a new disease-resistant high-yielding cassava variety, a cross-continental perfect pedigree of South American and African parentage. Nigeria's National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) at Umudike, one of GCP's partners, developed this variety in close collaboration with Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT). Nigeria is the world's leading producer and consumer of cassava.

The GCP-funded diversity studies, led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), revealed that the genetic base of cassava is very narrow, meaning that it can easily succumb to disease - as NRCRI's Dr Chiedozie Egesi explained – which meant that crossing South American and African varieties was essential to ensure success, as South American cassava cannot survive in Africa.

The end result of this happy marriage was higher yields and tolerance to acid soils conferred from the South American parentage, and resistance to cassava mosaic disease (CMD) from the African side of the family tree.

In a similar vein, the project's team leader at NCRCI, Dr Emmanuel Okogbenin also emphasised the importance of partnerships in the project, but those between research organisations, high-quality information, breeding schemes, and laboratory and fieldwork – the combination of which is crucial for successful breeding.

To get in-depth insight into this great example of a practical application of marker technology in cassava, please read the full story.