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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya set to unveil hybrid maize resistant hybrids

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.

Cabinet Secretary 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.

In sub-Saharan Africa, maize is a staple food and key determinant of food security for smallholder farming communities.

             

 

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