2020 Volume 70 Issue 2 Pages 145-166
In Asia, cassava (Manihot esculenta) is cultivated by more than 8 million farmers, driving the rural economy of many countries. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), in partnership with national agricultural research institutes (NARIs), instigated breeding and agronomic research in Asia, 1983. The breeding program has successfully released high-yielding cultivars resulting in an average yield increase from 13.0 t ha–1 in 1996 to 21.3 t ha–1 in 2016, with significant economic benefits. Following the success in increasing yields, cassava breeding has turned its focus to higher-value traits, such as waxy cassava, to reach new market niches. More recently, building resistance to invasive pests and diseases has become a top priority due to the emergent threat of cassava mosaic disease (CMD). The agronomic research involves driving profitability with advanced technologies focusing on better agronomic management practices thereby maintaining sustainable production systems. Remote sensing technologies are being tested for trait discovery and large-scale field evaluation of cassava. In summary, cassava breeding in Asia is driven by a combination of food and market demand with technological innovations to increase the productivity. Further, exploration in the potential of data-driven agriculture is needed to empower researchers and producers for sustainable advancement.