In recent years, climate change and the rapid acceleration of global trade have led to increasing crop damage from invasive pests worldwide, with South East Asian cassava crops being no exception. Due to this, CIAT is engaging in various programs to find solutions to problematic cassava crops, this project being one of these efforts.
One of major bottlenecks in cassava seed systems is the hardening process, going from tissue culture to soil. This year, a new hydroponic system, which reduces material loss during the process, was established at the International Collaborative Research Laboratory (ILCMB) and at the University of Battambang (UBB), the latter being a key center for cassava conservation and propagation in Cambodia. Hydroponics comprises the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil. CIAT has conducted previous research on this process, also aiming at breeding cassava crops with stronger resistance to disease.