Artificial inoculation of maize germplasm at the Naivasha MLN screening site, Kenya. Photo: B.Wawa/CIMMYT
The new maize lethal necrosis (MLN) online portal provides up-to-date information and surveillance tools to help researchers control and stop the spread of the deadly disease.
MLN was first reported in Kenya in 2011 and has since then been reported in several countries in eastern Africa, especially the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The disease kills plants before they can grow, and the pathogens are transmitted by insects or contaminated seed. Serious damage to the region’s maize production from MLN has impacted household food security.
Flashback: In early 2015, Kenya’s National Irrigation Board (NIB) purchased Aflasafe to help deal with aflatoxin contamination in maize, a predicament afflicting some of its irrigation schemes. For example, in most years, the UN’s World Food Programme was unable to purchase maize from the towns of Hola and Bura in Kenya owing to excessive aflatoxin. Fastforward to 2017: What were the results of this NIB purchase then, and today, two years on? Read on!
It’s blowing in the wind. Follow Sarah Chughu’s ‘pointing’ finger. See the tiny specks in the clouds on the left? That’s Aflasafe KE01 which Sarah was broadcasting at Galana-Kulalu, Eastern Kenya, in July 2016. An all-natural product, Aflasafe consistently reduces aflatoxin by between 80 and 99% at harvest and in storage. (Photo: U Mutuku/IITA)
A new variety in the market must have significant value to the farmer, such as higher tolerance to stresses, or added nutritional value. Photo: K. Kaimenyi/CIMMYT
For over 50 years, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), lead center of the CGIAR Research program on Maize (MAIZE), has led the research and development of quality, improved maize seed, designed to help farmers mitigate the effects of climate change while improving livelihoods.
Every new variety released is driven by farmer needs and preferences, with desirable traits such as pest and disease resistance, drought and heat tolerance as well as water and nutrient use efficiency. With improved maize seed, farmers not only benefit from increased stress tolerance, they also enjoy higher yields, increased nutritional value and improved income from grain sales.
NAIROBI, Kenya – Smallholder farmers in eastern, southern and western Africa are facing a major threat to their crops from the fall armyworm, which has so far damaged almost 300,000 hectares of maize.
To address this rapidly unfolding emergency, about 130 experts and stakeholders from African governments, international and national agricultural research organizations, non-governmental organizations, national plant protection organizations, development partners, and donor agencies will meet on April 27 and 28, 2017 in Nairobi to discuss and develop an effective management strategy against the fall armyworm pest in Africa.