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Banana & plantain facts


  • Production figures – FAOSTAT
  • Major food crop – Tripathi et al (2019)
  • Feeds over 500 million people – Tripathi et al (2019)
  • Feeds more per unit area – West et al (2014)
  • BBTV causes disease – Robertsse et al (2019)
  • 100% yield loss – Kumar et al (2011)
  • Infected plants cease fruit production – Hooks et al (2009)
  • Plants become bushy and dwarf – Hooks et al (2009)

Full references

Interrogation of FAOSTAT, Food and Agricultural Organisation data (2018)

Tripathi et al (2019) Application of genetic modification and genome editing for developing climate- smart banana

West et al (2014) Leverage points for improving global food security and the environment

Robertsse et al (2019) Non-destructive DNA extraction from aphids: the applicationin virus – vector studies of Banana bunchy top virus(BBTV)

Kumar et al (2011) Banana bunchy top virus in sub-Saharan Africa: Investigations on virus distribution and diversity

Hooks et al (2009) Aphid Transmission of Banana Bunchy Top Virus to Bananas After Treatment With a Bananacide

Sweet potato facts

CONNECTED Virus Network Sweet Potato infographic


  • Good sources – Vugt and Franke, 2018
  • 27 million tonnes – FAO data
  • Roots used as low-coast substitute – Ewell, P., 2002
  • Use of green leaves and shoots – Alleman et al, 2004
  • Yield losses – Gibson et al, 1998
  • SPVD combination causes – Clark et al, 2012

Full references

D. van Vugt and A.C. Franke (2018) Exploring the yield gap of orange-fleshed sweet potato varieties on smallholder farmers’ fields in Malawi. Field Crops Research

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) database

Peter T Ewell (2002) Sweetpotato production in Sub-Saharan Africa: Patterns and key issues. International Potato Center

J.Allemann, S.M.Laurie, S.Thiart, H.J.Vorster, C.H.Bornman (2004) Sustainable production of root and tuber crops (potato, sweet potato, indigenous potato, cassava) in southern Africa. South African Journal of Botany

R. W. Gibson, I. Mpembe, T. Alicai, E. E. Carey, R. O. M. Mwangad, S. E. Seal and H. J. Vettene (1998) Symptoms, aetiology and serological analysis of sweet potato virus disease in Uganda. Plant Pathology

Christopher A. Clark, Jeffrey A. Davis, Jorge A. Abad, Wilmer J. Cuellar, Segundo Fuentes, Jan F. Kreuze Richard William Gibson, Settumba B. Mukasa, Arthur K. Tugume, Fred Donati Tairo, and Jari P. T. Valkonen (2012) Sweetpotato viruses: 15 years of progress on understanding and managing complex diseases. Plant Disease

Yam facts

Some facts about one of west Africa’s most important staple food crops:

1. 300 million people in west Africa – Alabi et al, 2018
2. Food and pharmaceutical uses – Asala at el, 2012
3. Market value & income source – Asiedu & Sartie, 2010
4. Most economically damaging viral disease of yams in West Africa – Silva et al, 2015
5. Average yield loss – Seka et al, 2014
6. Effect of tackling viruses – Asiedu & Sartie, 2010
7. 93% of world yam produced in western Africa – Food and Agricultural Organisation data, 2016
8. Impact of yam tubers – Séka et al, 2014

Full references

Tunrayo R. Alabi et al (2018) Spatial Multivariate Cluster Analysis for Defining Target Population of Environments in West Africa for Yam Breeding. International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research 

Shatu Asala at el (2012) Distribution and incidence of viruses infecting yam (Dioscorea spp.) in Nigeria. Global Journal of Bio-Science and Biotechnology 

Asiedu & Sartie, (2010) Crops that feed the World 1. Yams. Food Security 

Goncalo Silva et al (2015) Rapid and specific detection of Yam mosaic virus by reverse-transcription recombinase polymerase amplification. Journal of Virological Methods 

K. Seka et al (2014) Yield loss caused by yam mosaic virus (YMV) and cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) on the varieties of Dioscorea spp. International Journal of Agronomy and Agricultural Research 

Interrogation of FAOSTAT, Food and Agricultural Organisation data (2016)

Cassava facts

Some facts about cassava, its importance to Africa, and the cost of vector-borne plant viruses that devastate its productivity:

1. 800 million people worldwide – FAO, 2013
2. Africa’s second most important staple – Nweke, 2004
3. Africa produces 57 per cent of the world’s cassava – Bennett, 2015
4. Annual loss estimate – IITA, 2014

Full references:

1. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). (2013) Save and Grow Cassava: A Guide to Sustainable Production Intensification. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

2. Nweke, F. (2004) New challenges in the cassava transformation in Nigeria and Ghana. Int. Food Pol. Res. Inst.118.

3. Bennett, B. (2015) Guest editorial: smallholder cassava production and the cassava processing sector in Africa. Food Chain, 5, 1–3.

4. International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). (2014) IITA Bulletin, Issue 2215. Ibadan: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.