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January 24, 2011

Mozambique cassava crop infected by mosaic virus

At least 20 percent of cassava plantations in the southern Mozambican district of Panda have been destroyed by mosaic virus, local media reported on January 14 without citing sources.

The virus infected about 9,000 hectares (22,239 acres) of the 47,000 hectares of crops in the area, the media said.

The loss of the cassava, a staple in the region, may result in pockets of hunger in the district, which is located about 800 kilometers (497 miles) north of Maputo.

The mosaic virus is transmitted by white flies and cuttings from infected plants and can reduce yields by as much as 40 percent, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute’s website.

The disease can cause leaves to turn yellow, shrink in size and become misshapen and twisted, according to the Food and Agricultural organization’s website.

Afrique Avenir

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