Seed production rises as lethal maize disease curbed

A farmer attends to her crops. The surge of new pests and diseases threatens to cause damages worth billions in maize production and hence the need to adopt new technologies, innovativeness and disease-tolerant varieties to increase productivity.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The surge of new pests and diseases threatens to cause damages worth billions and hence the need to embrace new technologies and innovativeness to increase productivity.
  • MLND had been heightened by little access to tolerant varieties and year-round cultivation of maize, allowing transmission through insect vectors.
  • Efforts have saved seed initially lost to the disease that led to deficits in Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.

Seed production losses in Eastern Africa have been reduced by 17 per cent in the last four years due to efforts to curb Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN).

African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) MLN project coordinator Samuel Angwenyi said the decrease in losses from 33 to 16 per cent has bolstered a steady supply of maize seeds in the region.

Saved seed

The efforts have saved seed initially lost to the disease that led to deficits in Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.

Angwenyi, who was speaking during a recent virtual 3rd Calestous Juma Executive Dialogue on Innovation and Emerging Technologies (CJED) organised by Africa Union Development Agency -New Partnership for Africa’s Development, said currently, there are over 160 seed companies, breeders, and regulators in the region.