To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

April 06, 2008

Disease affects rice crop in Kenya

Rice farmers in Kenya's Kirinyaga District are counting their losses after their crop was attacked by the Rice Blast disease.

The farmers have been complaining about the disease, which has wiped out almost half of their crop. “It started last year and since then it has been spreading very fast,” said Mr Francis Gichovi, a rice farmer in Mwea.

The disease is now threatening to drastically reduce harvests this season. An acre of land under rice usually produces on average 25 bags of rice, but this may reduce to 10 bags, Mr Gichovi said.

Many rice scientists consider it to be the most devastating rice disease worldwide. It has been detected in 85 countries.It is caused by the fungus magnaporthe grisea and is characterized by the appearance of lesions on the leaves, nodes, and panicles.

Besides attacking the leaves, the fungus may also attack the stem at the nodes, causing the neck to rot, or at the panicle, causing panicle blast. When this occurs, yield losses may be large because few seeds in the panicle develop. “The rice plants have turned white and there is no seed in them,” explains Gichovi.

According to the district agricultural office in Mwea, the disease has been spurred by the rains, which have been unusually high this season.

The disease thrives in long periods of moisture, high humidity, little or no night wind and night temperatures of around 20°C. Poor crop rotation practices have also allowed the disease to spread.

According to experts, successful control of the disease usually requires an integrated management programme, including the use of resistant varieties, cultural practices and chemical control.

Farmers have been advised to burn diseased rice straw and stubble. This is an important control measure that reduces the disease prevalence, but will not provide complete control by itself. Use of clean seeds whenever possible is also being encouraged to help control the disease, seed treatment to eliminate blast is under study.

Continuous flooding is also recommended to limit its development. Fungicides used in the past have not been effective in tackling the disease.

Plans to screen and breed resistant varieties are in progress. Varietal resistance is the most economical way to control the disease.

Resistance to the disease in the plant is effective against attack at all stages of growth. However, the fungus is highly variable--new forms can appear which attack resistant varieties.

Some fungicides control neck rot or panicle blast. Even though they are expensive, they may be economical to use at this stage.

Business Daily Africa

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by Ourblogtemplates.com

Back to TOP