Status of cassava mosaic disease and whitefly population in Zambia
Cassava mosaic disease is the most important disease affecting cassava in Zambia. A study was conducted through a survey to determine the status of cassava mosaic disease incidence, severity and whitefly abundance in farmers’ fields in six provinces: Lusaka, Northern, North-Western, Luapula, Eastern and Western between March and May 2014. The study reveals that cassava mosaic disease incidence was highest in Lusaka (70.0%) and Eastern (69.2%) and lowest in Luapula (45.1%) and Northern (48.5%) provinces. Disease symptom severity was moderate to severe in Lusaka (3.48) and Eastern (3.14) and low in the rest of the provinces. Adult whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) populations were highest in Western Province (2.71) and lowest in Luapula Province (0.02). Polymerase chain reaction results using specific primers for African cassava mosaic virus and East African cassava mosaic virus detected single infections of African cassava mosaic virus and East African cassava mosaic virus in 67.9 and 6.8% of the positive reactions, respectively. Dual infections of African cassava mosaic virus and East African cassava mosaic virus were detected in 25.6% of the samples tested. Cassava brown streak virus was not detected in any of the samples and no symptoms suggestive of cassava brown streak disease were observed in the surveyed fields.
Key words: Disease, incidence, severity, whitefly.