Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

27 June 2013

Tanzania: Six Regions Under Maize Quarantine

Dodoma — THE government has put under indefinite quarantine five northern zone regions following the outbreak of maize lethal necrosis disease, effectively banning trade of the grain there.

Reading the government statement on the outbreak of the maize disease in Parliament here yesterday, the Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Eng. Christopher Chiza, mentioned the regions as Manyara, Simiyu, Mara, Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions.

The government has, therefore, banned buying of maize from the five regions until further notice.

Eng. Chiza said his ministry and the Attorney General's office have already prepared prevention and control rules for the maize disease, including enforcement of the ban on the transportation of the grain from the affected regions.

The ban involves unprocessed maize -- not flour. Anybody going against the enforced rules would face legal measures according to Crop Preservation Act of 1997. According to the minister, researchers found symptoms of the maize lethal necrosis disease in Mlangiri area in Arusha District and Mbulu in Karatu District in August 2012.

Following the unpleasant discovery, the government dispatched a task force to the northern zone districts bordering neighbouring Kenya to collect maize samples for testing. Laboratory tests on the samples confirmed the presence of the disease. The disease was first spotted in the Kenyan Rift Valley province of Bomet in September 2011, he said.

The disease is caused by a combination of two viruses known as Maize Chlorotic Mottle Virus (MCMV) and Sugarcane Mosaic Virus (SCMV) that attack maize plants, he said. Studies show that the disease spreads so fast because the vectors that transmit the two viruses - aphis, beetles and thrips - are carried by winds from long distances.

On further measures to contain the spread of the disease, Eng. Chiza said the government was conducting public education campaigns through meetings, publications, signposts and media advertisements.

Eng. Chiza assured the House that the public education campaign would continue through special radio and television programmes, adding that agricultural extension officers would receive special training on the management of the disease.

He advised farmers to use high standard and quality seeds that have been certified by authorised institutions as a precautionary measure. Other measures include application of pesticides when maize has reached 60 centimetres and uprooting of maize plants with symptoms of the disease, he said.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2013 Tanzania Daily News. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.