Robert Horsch is a plant biologist with the West African Virus Epidemiology (WAVE). In this interview with AgroNigeria, he speaks about the goal of the project and how all and sundry can contribute to its continued success.
Please could you tell us about yourself?
My name is Robert Horsch. I am a plant biologist and I have worked with plant science and agricultural research for about 40 years.
How would you rate the success of the WAVE programme?
Considering how young it is, how early in the process, it is highly successful. They have assembled a great team of researchers; who plot the course, plan and execute the process of gathering data on the changing distribution of cassava viruses in West Africa. They have also partnered with academia, agricultural pilots in the UK and other places, to make predictions and find solutions to this problem.
Without any doubt, your organization has dispensed a lot of money to support Africa’s launch to greatness, can you tell us how much has been spent and the number of success recorded so far?
The successes are in the intellectual run rather than at our farmers’ feet at this early stage of the project.
Apart from the funds you provide, what other organizations have supported this fight?
I’m not sure. I think we’ve been the major funder of the grant money itself but all of the institutional partners contribute in kind, at least with the expertise of staff and trying out in other capacities that they can.
How would you rate African leader’s participatory level and contribution in the fight against the cassava virus?
Well, clearly the meeting showed great attention from the leaders in Africa to recognize, address and speak about the spread of viral disease epidemic in crops.
What necessary steps have you put in place to ensure that the cassava viruses are fought in the nearest future?
I think that itself is the major reason for this programme.
So, any final words?
I would say I am very happy to see the local expertise, the local scientists and the enthusiasm been shared between them and among countries in the fight of this problem that doesn’t know political borders.
Thank you so much for your time!
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