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Conference Focuses on Fighting Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease

17 September 2013

AFRICA - With concern building around the deadly Maize Lethal Necrosis disease, the Association for Strengthening Agriculture in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) is taking the first step towards a coordinated response to limiting its spread to ensure food security to Africa’s farmers in the East and Central African countries, 70 per cent of who depend on maize as a food security crop.

The disease, first spotted in Kenya in September, 2011, has since been reported in Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda, reports ASARECA.

Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) Director, Dr. Ephraim Mukisira said: “In 2012 season, an estimated 26,000 Ha of maize were affected by the disease, translating to an estimated loss of 650,000 bags valued at Ksh 2 billion (approx US$23 million)."

Maize is a staple or second tier staple food crop in eastern and central Africa region. It is key to national food security and rural livelihood planning in most countries.

Per capita consumption of maize in Kenya is among the highest in the region, at 125 kilogrammes meaning that on average, one Kenya consumers that amount of maize in one year. Tanzania has per capita consumption of 115 kilogrammes while Uganda’s is 30 kilogrammes.

In Kenya and Tanzania, maize output accounts for at least 30 per cent of total farm output for small holder farmers and is a major contributor to rural livelihood through sale of surplus harvest and is stored to provide household food security.

TheCropSite News Desk



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