We need regional efforts to defeat deadly maize disease

Sally Gari assesses the damage caused by maize necrosis disease in her farm in Nandi in 2013. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Besides farmers, the stakeholders include seed companies, seed distributors, regulators, policymakers, scientists and extension services in all maize-growing countries, irrespective of whether or not maize lethal necrosis disease has been detected or reported in these countries.
  • Uganda and Zimbabwe also ensure that all imported seeds are certified as maize lethal necrosis disease-free. This implies that other countries with weak surveillance and diagnostics are at high risk of importing infected seed.
  • These practices include crop rotation, at least two months of maize-free period (meaning no maize growing on their farms in a synchronised manner across the village), timely planting, proper detection and prompt destruction of any infected plants, planting certified maize seeds, and crop diversification where possible.

The maize lethal necrosis disease continues to wreak havoc on production of the cereal through irreversible damage that kills the plants.

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