Crop scientists in the West African sub-region are building synergies to control pests and diseases in cassava production.

The initiative for the diffusion of integrated management approaches to control cassava diseases dubbed, “DALIMA initiative” has an expected outcome of 50-80 percent increase in crop yield.

This initiative builds on existing projects with sponsorship from the West African Agricultural Productivity program (WAAPP).

Program Manager of DALIMA, Prof. Abdourahamane Sangare, says the second phase of the program is aimed at ensuring sustainability of the initiative.

“We are trying to develop a system where we can work with seed producers and the seed producers will now sustain the system; when they find out the material is infected in the fields, they come back to us and we give them clean materials to multiply and give out,” he said.

Prof. Sangare spoke to Luv Fm at a workshop of the DALIMA program in Kumasi, which brought together crop scientists from Ghana, Benin, Togo, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Niger.

“In the next five years we are expecting half of the farmers in West Africa to use these clean materials. The species we selected are the ones farmers in our catchment areas prefer to grow,” he said.

Regional Coordinator of DALIMA, Dr. Marian Quain says Ghana awaits the impending rain to commence the cultivation of the clean cassava cuttings.

“For about two months now we have not experienced any serious rains…so we are waiting the rains then we will give it to those who produce the planting material, then the farmers will take it from them in the next planting season”, she explained.

Dr. Quain is optimistic with carefully carved policies, the program will be sustained to ensure continuous production of quality cassava tubers.