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Apr 13, 2012

CIAT - Asia Cassava Yields Threatened by Climate Change

On 13 April 2012 the CGIAR Research Program on Food Security issued a press release on how cassava production is being impacted by climate change.  The main threat is coming from insect plagues that are caused by rising temperatures.  Cassava is staple commodity in South Asia that is processed into animal feed and biofuel, as well as flour that it used in food products.

Lower cassava yields threatens the income of an estimated 5 million farmers in Southeast Asia.  Thailand is the largest exporter, accounting for 60% of global production.  According to the Thai Tapioca Starch Association, in 2011 Thai cassava exports were worth an estimated 48 billion Thai Baht.

According to research published in Tropical Plant Biology by CGIAR's Center for International Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), cassava is under attack from numerous insects.  One of the new threats comes from the tiny green mite (Mononychellus mcgregori).  This was first documented in Vietnam in 2009.  It has been unofficially reported in southern China and Cambodia in 2011. Another invasive pest is the cassava mealybug.  In 2009, Thailand deterred a plague by quickly releasing a parasitic wasp (Anagyrus lopezi) to kill the mealybugs.

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About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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