Cassava in south-east Asia under threat from witches' broom disease

 Cassava in south-east Asia under threat from witches’ broom disease

Climate change menacing yet another food crop by fuelling explosion in pests and diseases that are attacking cassava plants

cassava

A mealybug attacks a plant in Indonesia. Parasitic wasps have been deployed to combat the bug in some areas, with mixed results. Photograph: Georgina Smith/Ciat

Friday 15 April 2016

Climate change and globalisation are fuelling an explosion in the pests and diseases that afflict south-east Asia’s cassava crops, threatening a multi-billion dollar industry and the staple food of millions of people, a report warns.

Cassava, which is originally from South America, is now south-east Asia’s third largest source of calories after rice and maize. An estimated 40 million people in the area depend on the plant for their livelihoods and the crop forms the basis of a $5bn (£3.5bn) regional market in starch, which is used to make products ranging from paper to biofuel. Read more.