“The cassava seed system starts from the tissue culture lab where the material is obtained, meristem and indexing is done to ensure production of disease free cassava seed,” said Stephen Khisa, who explained that hardening, is done in the greenhouse where further multiplication through pencil cuttings is done.
Mr. Khisa noted that when multiplying the clean seed through pencil cuttings, it is important to store the propagated seed in the greenhouse or shade net to protect it from pests that can transmit diseases.
“The greenhouse can hold upto 20,000 plantlets of cassava. The plantlets are arranged in a box to hold them upright and enhance humidity to ensure speedy growth of the plant,” he observed.
He also stated that certified seeds propagated from pencil cuttings should be planted upto the third generation to mitigate exposure to diseases.
“The more generations you grow the basic seed could lead to low production due to contamination in the field,” Mr. Khisa said.
“This project will be a breakthrough to the challenge of accessing clean cassava seed due to contamination by viral diseases and drought since we aim to train farmers in Kilifi county on the technology to increase production of clean materials,” said Sophie Nadzua, the cassava SOS lead.
Ms. Nadzua advised farmers to adopt the technology since it is simple and uses local materials to multiply more cuttings compared to the usual farmer practice. She emphasized that embracing the technology can act as an income generating activity and improve farmer’s livelihoods.
Elinah Sultani, a lead farmer in Kilifi North Sub-county, expressed her gratitude noting that the technology will boost production of cassava in the region due to availability of clean seed. She also stated that the built shade net will act as a learning site to other farmers hence building capacity in knowledge of rapid multiplication of disease-free seeds.
“We are honored to participate in this technology and ensuring its success in aiding farmers in Kilifi,” stated Robert Ngala, The cassava project lead in Kilifi County, who also acknowledged the role of the training fostering knowledge transfer between PlantVillage Dream Team officers and farmers in the region.