The Cassava Virus Action Project: Our world changing idea is to save cassava, a plant that feeds 800 million people globally by using pocket DNA sequencing & supercomputing & data analytics all while increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM. 1 billion people live in extreme poverty and the majority of them are smallholder farmers. The world has all the tools to end hunger. Our team has the world changing idea to use these tools to save cassava, a plant that feeds 800 million globally and, in the process, we will build infrastructure and scientific capacity to handle any outbreak or pandemic in east Africa. And the bonus- this will bring equity to science at a pace never seen before. The highest tech solutions will be driven by east Africa for the globe. Now that’s a world changing paradigm shift long overdue. The Cassava Virus Action Project’s (CVAP) mission is to use the latest technologies, such as pocket DNA sequencing and supercomputing, to positively impact the lives of 10 million farmers and their families in the next 6 years. The project plans to scale its work with farmers by engaging with an already established network and by building new connections to the technology and medical hubs in the region.
The Cassava Virus Action Project is a network of researchers, farmers and technology industry people collaborating to use genomic technologies to improve the management of these Cassava viruses. We have a not-for-profit fiscal sponsor called Multiplier in the USA, which accelerates impact for initiatives that protect and foster a healthy, sustainable, resilient and equitable world. Our goals are to 1) Increase plant yields for farmers for 10 million people in 6 years and 2) open 3 hi-tech labs in the region that can handle future outbreaks and pandemics in the region. If scientists and technologists in east Africa analyze the DNA of the virus, quickly and close to the crop or host, you could understand what virus it is and decide what action to take. We will empower local communities to make decisions that maximize their crops while also minimizing the spread of these pathogens. Bringing the strongest women on the planet, the smallholder farmers in East Africa, into the light will only help the globes plight for food security. Direct rapid DNA/RNA sequencing of infected material on-the-spot or near sample collection sites turns this conventional paradigm on its head by taking the laboratory closer to farmers’ fields. This reduces overall costs and gives crop protection officers and farmers in rural communities’ information critical for sustainable crop production and management of pests and diseases, thus ensuring food and income security for millions of Africans.
Help us scale: multiplier.org/project/cassava-virus-action-project/