Tanzanian researchers in collaboration with their Kenyan counterparts are about to get a solution to the maize lethal necrosis (MLN), a serious disease of maize, which for the first time appeared in East African region in 2011.

This was disclosed on Tuesday when a team of researchers from the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) visited the MLN resistance trials at Kiru village of Manyara region in northern Tanzania.
The Maize Lethal Necrosis first appeared in Kenyan maize farms in 2011 and has fast spread to neighboring Tanzania and Uganda.

WEMA project manager Sylvester Oikeh said trials on how to address the MLN has shown impressive results. In the trials, researchers are developing maize seeds which are susceptible to MLN disease.

“We have developed seeds which have shown good results and we’re still working on those seeds before taking them for approval by the responsible authorities in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda like the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI),” he said. “This is a very important step before taking the seeds to farmers.”

“We are moving in a right direction when it comes towards addressing the MLN disease,” he said.

Yosef Beyene, senior official of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT)-Kenya, called on East African maize growers to adhere to best agricultural management practices.

The CIMMYT official also suggested the need for smallholder farmers not to plant maize every year because the virus can stay in the stark and emerge in the next season, causing the infection to be even worse.

Beyene said farmers should also not take seed materials from the affected areas to non-affected areas.

He also urged regional seed companies to ensure the seed materials they were shifting from one partner country to another are free from diseases.

Since 2011, local researchers in collaboration with international researchers have been working for almost five years looking for the MLN disease solution. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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