Dec 3, 2013

We will miss you Tony

CASSAVAVIET. “Tony was a dear friend and a scientist of the highest caliber, who dedicated his entire working life to the pursuit of development impact through agricultural research. We will miss you Tony!” Dr. Ruben Echeverria, Director General of CIAT said. Dr. Anthony Bellotti was a great teacher, outstanding scientist, and great friend for Cassava in Vietnam. We want to share the message from Ruben and some latest lecture and pictures of Tony on CIAT visit regarding cassava pests and diseases with others.


by Ruben G. Echeverría
(CIAT E-Newsletter /7 March 2013)

It is with deep sadness that I announce the passing of Dr. Anthony Bellotti at his retirement home in Naples, Florida, after a battle with cancer that lasted several months. Tony was a dear friend and a scientist of the highest caliber, who dedicated his entire working life to the pursuit of development impact through agricultural research.

His long journey of commitment began in 1962, when he joined the first group of Peace Corps volunteers in El Salvador. For 2 years, he supervised projects dealing with the production of vegetables, tropical fruits, and small livestock. After earning an MSc at New Mexico State University, Tony returned to the Peace Corps in 1967, serving first as an assistant director in Paraguay and then as a training officer in California until 1970.

Like so many Peace Corps volunteers, Tony realized that to make lasting contributions he needed more knowledge. So, he embarked on doctoral studies in the Department of Entomology with a minor in Plant Breeding at Cornell University. After completing his PhD, Tony joined CIAT in Cali, Colombia, initially as a Rockefeller Foundation post-doc. He developed an extraordinarily productive career as Cassava Program entomologist, including an 18-month sabbatical at Embrapa, Cruz das Almas, Brazil – and also served at times as acting program leader. His work resulted in more than 300 scientific publications. After his retirement in 2006, Tony was awarded emeritus status but continued contributing generously to mentoring and occasional consultancies.

Tony leaves a legacy of enormous professional accomplishments. Through research teams formed with skill and care, he advanced the knowledge of cassava entomology from its infancy to maturity, opening the way for major contributions to improved livelihoods for cassava farmers. Tony’s single greatest scientific achievement involved his role in the introduction of a parasitic wasp from Paraguay to sub-Saharan Africa for biological control of the devastating cassava mealybug. The documented economic benefits of this work are valued in the billions of dollars.

Tony leaves a huge void in CIAT and around the world, having formed friendships and professional relationships through an international career that spanned more than half a century, including 40 years at CIAT. Tony led a rich life outside of work too – as an avid reader, New York Yankees fan, and congenial, supportive companion to a very large circle of friends in Cali.
More details about Tony’s life and work are available on a special page of CIAT’s website, where friends and colleagues can share their thoughts, memories, and photos. Please join us in honoring this true hero of science and incomparable friend to so many.

Joe Tohme and Clair Hershey will provide information on donations that can be made in Tony’s name after the family identifies the charity.

Please feel free to share this message with others.

We will miss you Tony!

Director General of CIAT

Bellotti on Cassava in Vietnam

CASSAVAVIET. CIAT visit regarding cassava pests and diseases. "CIAT wants to send a small delegation to collect more information on the pest and disease issues affecting cassava in SE Asia, especially in Viet Nam and Thailand. The main people in the team are Dr. Tony Bellotti, who has been the entomologist at CIAT for decades, and Dr. Elizabeth Alvarez, who is the CIAT pathologist. Throughout their visit they will be accompanied by Dr. Tin Maung Aye, who runs our main cassava project in SE Asia. In addition, I will join parts of the visist and we hope that Kaith and Tiago may be able to join some parts of the visit"

Rod Lefroy (D.Phil) Regional Research Leader,
CIAT in Asia PO Box 783, Vientiane, Lao PDR
phone: +856-21-770090 mobile: +856-20-5509-863

"... Dr Tony (Entomologist) and Dr Elizabeth (Pathologist) from CIAT and I will visit to Vietnam in the middle of November, from 15 to 22 Nov in Vietnam. As you know that there is a cassava disease problem in Vietnam and it seems to spread out very quickly in many parts of cassava growing areas in Vietnam. The main reason to visit Vietnam is that to get a better idea of the pest and disease problem on cassava in Vietnam. I believe that the coming trip will help us to fight against the pest and disease in the region. I am now organizing their trip to Vietnam to visit cassava planning provinces especially the serious disease affected areas in the provinces."

Dr. Tin Maung Aye, (Who runs CIAT main cassava project in SE Asia) CIAT, c/o FCRI, Dept. of Agriculture Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand Office telephone: +66-02579-7551 Office telephone and fax: +66-02940-5541 Email: Keith Fahrney (CIAT-Asia) Email:, Tiago Wandschneider (CIAT-Vietnam)

From: Reinhardt Howeler
CIAT-BANGKOK ciat-bangkok

To: "Jarungsit Limsila" , "Wang Wenquang" , "Wani Hadi Utomo" , "Marjuki" , "Sholihin" , "yudi widodo" , "Wargiono" , "Augustinus Omar Rahmanadi" , "Jonathan Schofield" , "Rod Lefroy" , "Tin Maung Aye" , "Keith Fahrney" , "Lao Thao" , "Thiphavong Boupha" , "Hongthong Phimmasan" , "Viengsavanh Phimphachanvongsod" , "Phoumi Inthapanya" , "Phanthasin Khanthavong", "Rob Kelly" , "Silinthone Sacklokham" , "Engku Ismail Engku Ahmad" , "Narul Nahar Esa" , "Tan Swee Lian" , "Algerico Mariscal" , "Dioscoro Bolatete Jr." , "Tran Ngoc Ngoan" , "Nguyen Vu Thai" , "Nguyen Thi Hoa Ly" , "Hoang Kim" , "Phuong Nguyen" , "Nguyen Huu Hy" , "Pham Thi Nhan" , "Nam Ho Dai" , "Khanh Ton That Minh" , "Tiago Wandschneider"
Date: Tuesday, 17 February, 2009,

Dear friends and colleagues

You may be aware that two insects have been causing serious damage to cassava in Thailand during this past year. One is the spiraling white fly (Aleurodicus disperses), which has long existed in many countries in Asia, on many different crops, but seldom did serious damage to cassava. Last year the infestation was quite severe. Even so, this insect affects mostly the lower leaves and thus has less impact on yield. Spraying insecticides may be counterproductive as it may kill the biological control agents.

The second insect is more worrisome. In many parts of Asia we have had a minor problem in cassava with the striped-mealy bug, Ferrisia virgata, which caused only minor damage.

However, late last year and especially during the current dry season in Thailand, there is a serious mealy bug infestation in various parts of the country. Dr. Bellotti, the CIAT cassava entomologist, who visited Thailand in October, suspected that the increased damage was done by one or more new species of mealy bugs, possibly Phenococcus manihoti and/or Phenococcus herrinni, which have also caused serious damage in Africa and Latin America, but have not previously been observed in Asia (including India). Thai entomologists agree that this is probably a new and more dangerous species, and they are trying to identify the exact species and possible biological control agents.

Since CIAT/IITA collaboration during the 1980s was very successful in bringing a similar new infestation of P. herrinni in Africa under control, we may consider a similar effort in Asia with the possible introduction of effective biological control agents from Latin America into Asia. But before this is done, we first need to identify the exact species causing the damage and to get some indication of the seriousness of the problem and the extent of its spread.

Thus, with this Email, I would like to request everyone to report to the CIAT-Bangkok office any serious or unusual infestations of both the whitefly and mealy bugs (or other insect or disease problems) on cassava in your area.

In addition, since mealy bugs are easily transported on planting material, it is very dangerous to take any stakes or vegetative planting material across borders, especially from Thailand, but even more so from Africa, Latin America or India (where cassava mosaic disease is a serious problem). Since these new insect pests have the potential to devastate the cassava industry in all of Asia, your help and collaboration is essential to bring this problem under control.

With best regards,

Reinhardt Howeler
Senior Expert
CIAT, c/o FCRI, Dept. of Agriculture
Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand

For Vietnam:
Nguyen Van Bo,,
Ngo Vinh Vien, Le Dinh Don
Hoang Kim,

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