In September 2011, reports came of a devastating new maize disease in the Southern Rift Valley of Kenya. The symptoms were described as mottling of the leaves, small cobs with few grains, and necrosis of young leaves leading to “dead heart” and eventually plant death. It was common for affected fields to show 100 percent infection rates, meaning that some farmers faced losing the entire crop.
By October 2012, a study team sent by CIMMYT and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) confirmed the disease to be maize lethal necrosis (MLN).
A Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) study funded under the Competitive Grant Initiative of the MAIZE CRP, “Gender Matters in farm Power,” investigates how gender matters in small-scale farm power mechanization in African agriculture, particularly in maize-based systems in Ethiopia and Kenya. KIT collaborated with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center’s (CIMMYT) Farm Power and Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification (FACASI) project on the study in order to leverage FACASI’s experience with national project partners and to build on and complement the project’s work.
Eliud Kireger, KALRO Director General, attends the International Wheat
Yield Potential Workshop in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, Mexico.
This week, CIMMYT had the honor of hosting Dr. Eliud Kireger, the Acting Director General of the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO). His visit included travel to the experiment station at Ciudad Obregón for first-hand experience regarding CIMMYT wheat research, as KALRO is one of the few partners in Africa with whom we work on both maize and wheat.
Sub-Saharan African farmers typically apply less than 20 kilograms of fertilizer per hectare of cropland — far less than their peers in any other region of the world. In 2014, partners in the Improved Maize for African Soils (IMAS) project developed 41 Africa-adapted maize varieties that respond better to low amounts of nitrogen fertilizer and are up for release in nine African countries through 24 seed companies.