The Star (Nairobi)

13 April 2013

Kenya: Lethal Maize Disease Signs Scares Nandi Farmers

Maize Lethal Necrosis disease has affected farms in parts of the Rift Valley.

Some farmers in parts of Nandi county have reported that maizeon their farms are turning yellow and drying up two months after they were planted.

There are fears that the disease may affect more areas and cause a reduction in maize production this year. "The government needs to act on the issue of this disease because it could be a potential threat to food security in this country," said Kenya Farmers Association director Kipkorir Menjo.

Last year the disease destroyed maize on farms mainly in the South rift region but was also reported in parts of Nyanza, Eastern and Central regions. The Agriculture ministry is researching on the disease.

The researchers had advised farmers to practice crop rotation on their farms so that the disease does not recur. However many farmers did not heed the advice.

Last month the government unveiled a new chemical costing Sh300 million to fight the maize disease. Kenya Seed Company managing director Willy Bett said the new chemical will control the spread of Maize Lethal Necrosis. "We will conitnue with ur research so that we develop more resistant seed varieties," said Bett.

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