Home Crops Farmers in East Africa to act now against maize virus.

Farmers in East Africa to act now against maize virus.

by Grace Kisembo

In Tanzania, just like the rest of East Africa, faces the threat of food shortages due to a number of reasons.

From climate change to poor farming methods, the negative factors are wide and varied Worse still, there have been concerns about inadequate, if not poor, response by local farmers and authorities to the threat of disease affecting major crops.

One such case is that of the Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease, which in Tanzania has reportedly spread and ravaged the northern regions.

For three years now, researchers are still struggling to find ways of containing the viral disease, which was first reported in Kenya five years ago.

Experts say the disease can wipe out a whole field. Farmers in Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara and Mara regions have already been told to uproot affected crops. This is only part of damage control.

The government should now work on educating farmers on maize seed varieties known to be resistant to disease.

There are fears that the disease could spread to other regions, something that the authorities should proactively work on to avert a potential crisis.

Maize is a staple crop, and every effort should be made to ensure that farmers do not continue to fall victim. Surveillance, testing for seed tolerance and sensitization should all be stepped up.

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