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October 02, 2012

Maize Lethal Necrosis reduces yields for some Kenyan farmers by up to 60%

An apparently previously unknown-in-Kenya maize disease is reported to be ravaging the crop in the areas where it has been found. Dubbed maize lethal necrosis, it makes the crop turn yellow and dry up, but little is known about the mode of transmission.

Researchers at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization are worried about the disease but don’t yet know enough about it to make any specific recommendations to farmers.

However, reports from KARI offer hope that there are maize hybrids that are resistant to the virus that causes the disease. Farmers are also being encouraged to plant alternative crops in order to break the virus transmission cycle.

Since it was first reported in the Bomet County area in September 2011, maize lethal necrosis is said to have affected at an area of least 75,000 hectares.

African Agriculture

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