NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya said on Thursday that it will soon
introduce a hybrid maize variety that is resistant to Maize
Lethal Necrosis (MLN) in the market.
for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Willy Bett said on
Thursday that through the collaboration with the International
Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT) and a local seed company,
resistant seeds that are being developed are set to be launched.
“The varieties that
are being developed are capable of 65-85 percent MLD tolerant,”
Bett told Xinhua.
He said the progress
made by local and international scientists in the last three
years on identification of MLN tolerant derived maize hybrids
through intensive screening is set to increase maize production
in the country.
MLN disease was
spotted in Kenya in September 2011 and later diagnosed as MLN
has since been reported in Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda,
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Burundi.
Kenyan farmers lost
up to 90 percent resulted in an estimated grain loss of 126,000
metric tons valued at 52 million U.S dollars in 2012.
Bett said MLN-resistant
hybrids are adapted to diverse maize agro-ecologies in the
country and has emerged as the solution to one of the major
maize growing problem in recent times.
According to Mathew
Mwarey, a researcher at Simlaw Seed Company, the innovation will
offer a solution to maize to more than 60 percent of crop loss.
Africa, maize is a staple food and key determinant of food
security for smallholder farming communities.