TARO LEAF BLIGHT: THREAT TO TARO (Colocasiae esculenta L. Schott) PRODUCTION

  • N.R. Okereke National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Abia State, Nigeria
Keywords: P.colocasiae, disease management, genomics and biotechnology

Abstract

Taro (Colocasiae esculenta) is the third most important root and tuber after cassava and yam cultivated in sub-
Saharan Africa, but its global yield is severely threatened by the disease- Taro Leaf Blight (TLB). The disease is
associated with the oomycete P.colocasiae which attacks every part of the plant, especially when it is a
susceptible variety. More than 80% of taro losses are due to the impact of TLB and it accounts for why many
growers neglect the crop, resulting in major changes in dietary patterns and cropping systems in affected areas.
Lack of funding geared toward taro research is also a major contributing factor to the crops neglect. A better
understanding of P.colocasiae isolate in affected region, better informs disease management strategies, which
over the years have included the use of resistant cultivars, chemical and biological controls, and cultural
practices. The literature reviewed to describe TLB as a grave threat to taro production was retrieved from
computerized databases. This paper provides an overview of the disease origin, epidemiology, and impact on
cultivation, and highlights opportunities new offer of biotechnologies to reduce losses of this neglected tropical
food crop. For many, this ancient crop is of cultural significance and addressing the TLB scourge is of the utmost
importance.

Published
2020-08-30

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 0300-368X