Cassava pests and diseases

Cassava crop, Manihot esculenta Crantz (Euphorbiceae) with its green succulent leaves and tender juicy growing points attracts and supports a variety of insects and mite populations some of which may be injurious and reduce cassava tuber yields. The cassava green mite, Mononychellus progresivus Doreste, (= M. aripo) is reported to be the major pest across the African continent and reduces root yield by 14-80% depending on other factors in the environment. The crop suffers highest mite damage in the arid-and –semilands.

Management/ control.An integrated approach results into higher yield, environmental safety and makes economic sense. Establishing cassava in fertile soil, with optimum moisture level and only spraying abamectin against the mite pest during dry spell months was found to lead to 80% yield gain.

Cassava green mite                                       Life stages of spider mite pests

Diseases,include cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava  brown streak disease (CBSD)  leading to 68 and 94% yield loss, respectively. A whitefly species, Bemisia tabaci (Genn.) transmit the two diseases once the inoculum is present in a field plot.  The brown streak disease is most damaging on cassava and can lead to 98% loss.

Cassava mosaic disease (CMD)