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IITA (Nigeria)

KB Sharma

International of Tropical Agriculture



I started my research work on taro in 2005 looking at the genetic diversity among Indian taro cultivars and P. colocasiae strains causing leaf blight; this work also involved the identification of differentially expressed defence related genes during taro / P. colocasiae interaction. I am now working on the PCR based diagnosis of fungal and bacterial pathogens infecting yam, cassava, maize. Recently, our group reported taro leaf blight in Nigeria and West Africa.

Ranajit Bandyopadhyay
Plant Pathologist
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture




I am a plant pathologist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria. I work on all mandate crops of IITA with special emphasis on aflatoxins (not on aroids!). I became interested in taro after seeing the devastation caused by taro blight in Nigeria last year and reading reports of the importance of the disease in the Pacific, and more recently in Cameroon. Together with Joe Onyeka of National Root Crops Research Institute, we recently published the first report of taro blight in Nigeria. We will soon begin to evaluate germplasm resistant to taro blight in the Pacific against local isolates of the pathogen in Nigeria. Mrs Valerie S. Tuia, Curator at Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees in Fiji was kind enough to share some taro blight resistant germplasm from the Taro Improvement Programme in Samoa.