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REPORT FOR ISPP TASK FORCE ON GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY

February 2003 meeting

ACTIVITY 4: FARMER TRAINING IN SIMPLE DISEASE MANGEMENT ON CASSAVA IN GHANA

E. Moses, Crops Research Institute, Kumasi, Ghana.

BACKGROUND

At the ISPP Task Force on Global Food Security Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand in 1999 the meeting accepted as an activity how farmers in developing countries should be trained to acquire simple knowledge in controlling diseases of their major staples to increase yield and improve on their food security. The activity was developed with focus on controlling cassava diseases because of the importance of cassava as a major staple in sub-saharan Africa. The main task was to develop simple teaching tools such as facts sheets on diseases of cassava with simple practical instructions on how the diseases can be controlled. The facts sheets in English and local languages were then to be used to transfer knowledge on cassava diseases and their control to farmers through Agricultural extension agents.

An example fact sheet is attached, on cassava diseases and their control. This material was simply designed to benefit farmers with minimum education who attend our workshops and Farmer Field Days on Cassava Diseases. In addition, several pictures on diseases of cassava have been scanned and printed on to acetate papers and these have been used in workshops and illustrations before field visits with farmers at Field Days. Some of these teaching materials have also been developed on Power Point and are being used in training farmers and extension agents. These tools that I have developed can be used effectively and extensively to control diseases and increase yield. I have to keep on searching for financial support for this kind of project to make a bigger impact on food production.

The activity was to be started in Ghana and the success story transferred to other developing countries where cassava is a major staple. The major constraint against the direct implementation of the Activity was funding. Efforts were made to secure direct funding for the implementation of this Activity particularly through the Natural Resources Institute, UK but was not successful. This resulted in the modification of the approach to implement this activity. The strategy developed therefore, was to consciously factor this activity into all crop protection projects on cassava in Ghana that Emmanuel Moses was involved to ensure that the activity was implemented. The activity was implemented through the following projects:

1. Participatory Cassava Breeding Project (an NRI, UK/ CRI, Ghana project). This is a farmer/scientist participatory project selecting for resistance to African Mosaic Virus Disease (ACMV) and other diseases of cassava.

2. Cassava Planting Material Multiplication Project. This is a project funded under the National Root and Tuber Improvement Programme of Ghana.

3. Identification of local varieties of cassava with tolerance to ACMV and cassava anthracnose disease (CAD). This project is also funded under the National Root and Tuber Improvement Programme of Ghana.

4. Control of tuber rot disease of cassava. A project funded under the National Root and Tuber Improvement Programme of Ghana.

5. Integrated Pest Management of Root and Tuber Crops. This project is also funded under the National Root and Tuber Improvement Programme of Ghana.

The implementation of the Task Force activity under the various projects are described below.

TASK FORCE ACTIVITY 4 UNDER "PARTICIPATORY CASSAVA BREEDING"

This project is a DFID, UK funded project on-going in Ghana. Farmers at three locations (2 locations in forest and 1 in a forest-savanna transition zone) are involved in participatory selection of cassava for resistance to ACMV and other diseases. Cassava varieties with resistance to major diseases are being developed from seeds from a maximum of 18 cassava families. Thirty to fifty farmers are involved in the project at each location. Using appropriate local dialects on farmer field days, the farmers involved in the project are taught all the basic things they have to know about diseases of the crop. Farmers are trained on the field to identify the various diseases of the crop through expressed symptoms. In addition, they are made to appreciate the importance of yield losses due to diseases. Simple knowledge in disease control including the use of healthy planting materials, rouging and burning of disease plants in the case of cassava bacterial blight( (CBB), using disease resistant varieties and practicing crop rotations were transferred to farmers. This project is on-going and project farmers are always encouraged to transfer the gains they have acquired to other farmers in their communities to prevent spread of diseases.

TASK FORCE ACTIVITY 4 UNDER "CASSAVA PLANTING MATERIAL MULTIPLICATION"

The cassava planting materials multiplication project is an activity under the National Root and Tuber Improvement Programme of Ghana. The project multiplies planting materials of four improved varieties of cassava on large scale and distribute healthy planting materials nationwide to farmers for cultivation to improve food security and poverty reduction.

To ensure that farmers use healthy planting materials, fields under the project are inspected by teams of crop protectionists before they are coppiced for distribution.