Major insect pest of cassava

The scientifically name of Cassava is Manihot esculenta, cassava is a perennial shrub in the family Euphorbiaceae. Cassavas are grown primarily for their storage roots which are eaten as a vegetable. Cassava plant is actually a woody plant with erect stems. Cassava plant produces petal-less flowers on a raceme. The edible roots of the cassava plant are usually cylindrical and tapered and are white, brown or reddish in color. Cassava plants can reach about four meter in height and is usually harvested nine to twelve months after planting. Cassava may also be referred to as manioc, Brazilian arrowroot, yuca or tapioca and the origins of the plant are actually unknown. Cassava plant is not known to occur wild but may have first been cultivated in Brazil. After rice and maize, cassava is the third-largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics. Cassava is a major staple food in the developing world, providing a basic diet for more than half a billion people. Cassava plant is one of the most drought-tolerant crops and is capable of growing on marginal soils. The following are major insect pest of cassava;

Pests on Cassava

  1. The Cassava Green Mite
  • To actually avoid this pest you can plant your cassava early at the onset of rains.
  • The biological control involves the use of predatory mites and parasites.
  • You can also carry out crop rotation.
  • Use integrated pest management, this is highly advisable.
  • The Cassava Mealy Bugs
  • These pests are effectively controlled by their natural enemy, a parasitic wasp.
  • Also use integrated pest management.
  • They should be a routine checks through the garden, this is highly advised.
  • Try and always plant resistant and tolerant varieties.

Diseases on Cassava

  1. The Cassava Mosaic Disease

Symptoms of the disease: Chlorosis where plants produce insufficient chlorophyll. Also, mottling of leaves and falling of leaves.

Control method;

  • Make sure you plant resistant or tolerant varieties.
  • Try and practice crop rotation with legumes.
  • Make sure you use disease-free planting material.
  • The Cassava Brown Streak Disease

Symptoms of the disease: Venial necrosis, brown streaks on the plant stem, Necrotic dry rot on the plant roots.

Control method;

  • Make sure you plant the cuttings from disease-free areas/gardens after being certified by MAAIF.
  • Try as much as possible to plant tolerant varieties. You can seek advice from Extension staff on the latest tolerant varieties
  • Make sure you uproot and bury or burn any diseased plants or entire field.
  • Applying the principle of integrated disease management.

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