twitter RSS Feed linkedin acp contact

New model to control deadly maize disease

As maize lethal necrosis (MLN) causes up to 90 per cent production loss, the researchers is trying to figure effective ways to combat infectious viruses causing MLN in Kenya

MLNMLN causes severe stunting, leaf necrosis and premature death for maize plants. (Image source: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture/Flickr)

With maize being the staple crop in the Sub-Saharan Africa, the spreading of the disease is affecting food security for people in the region.

Nik Cunniffe, co-author and lecturer in mathematical biology at the University of Cambridge, said that the objective of the study was to test the implementation of mathematical modelling in making practical recommendations for disease control.

In a statement to the SciDev.Net, Cunniffe commented, “This is important since MLN is a big problem, causing up to 90 per cent yield loss in heavily infected areas.” Apart from Kenya, where MLN has been spreading for the last six years, the disease has also been detected in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania, added Cunniffe to the source.

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the MLN is a result of a combination of two viruses, the maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMoV) and any of the cereal viruses in the Potyviridae group, like the sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV), wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV) or maize dwarf mosaic virus (MDMV). The double infection of the two viruses gives rise to MLN disease, which is also termed as corn lethal necrosis (CLN).

The researchers across France, Germany, the UK and the US modelled the spread of the viruses causing MLN to understand the dynamics of the disease within and between growing seasons of the crop. The model allows the transmission of the virus via vectors, soil and seeds, according to the study published in August 2017.

After that, the researchers reviewed the control strategies for large and small farms considering the scenarios of no management of disease, management without crop rotation and management with crop rotation.

According to the study, small and large farms differ in management strategies that each can adopt, with insecticide sprays and clean seed for large farms and rouging adopted by the small farms. The study did not consider the effect of maize varieties with MLN tolerance, because availability of locally adapted and agronomically acceptable and tolerant hybrids is limited.

The findings show that combining crop rotation, using virus-free seed, removing plants that show disease symptoms and controlling insect pests are the ways to control MLN. However, Cunniffe added that the control needs to be done synchronously in large areas to control other diseases that can repeatedly re-invade from outside the controlled area.


LATEST NEWS IN Agriculture

FAO supports national plan to lower Covid-19 impact in Benin

FAO supports national plan to lower Covi…

Faced with the effects of the Covid-19 crisis, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) designed and implemented a project under the Technical Cooperation Program (TCP) with...

Food insecurity prompts FAO, UNICEF and World Food Programme to call for urgent action

Food insecurity prompts FAO, UNICEF and …

The latest Cadre Harmonisé food security analysis shows that more than 35 mn people (including 6.7 mn children) in the region are currently unable to meet their basic food and...

African Development Fund approves US$6.4mn grant to increase financial access for agricultural value chain entrepreneurs

African Development Fund approves US$6.4…

The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund, the African Development Bank Group’s (AfDB’s) concessional lending window, has approved a grant US$6.4mn to Gambia to implement the Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing...

Esri partners with Microsoft to support sustainable agriculture development in Africa

Esri partners with Microsoft to support …

To help support government and non-profit organisations on the continent address climate change, water supply and food security challenges, Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, has collaborated with Microsoft...

USAID and NASA renew partnership to address development and humanitarian challenges

USAID and NASA renew partnership to addr…

On 4 November, Administrator Samantha Power signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to renew...

Norway promises top-up contribution of urgently needed climate finance

Norway promises top-up contribution of u…

On 9 November 2022, Norway, as part of a commitment to triple its support to climate adaptation by 2026, has pledged an additional US$9.5mn contribution of urgently needed climate finance...

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Agriculture

Crop rotation technology to aid Ghana's farmers

Crop rotation technology to aid Ghana's …

A technology able to address declining soil fertility in food production has been made available to smallholder farmers in Ghana

IFAD launches US$67.43mn investment programme for small-scale farmers in Zimbabwe

IFAD launches US$67.43mn investment prog…

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announced support for a new US$67.43mn investment programme that aims to increase rural incomes for 78,000 vulnerable rural households in Zimbabwe by sustainably...

Provivi receives regulatory approval for Pherogen SPOFR in Kenya

Provivi receives regulatory approval for…

Provivi, an emerging crop protection company using pheromones to protect crops from major damaging insects, has announced regulatory approval of Pherogen SPOFR in Kenya

Cargill invests US$1.35 million in Mozambique farmers

Cargill invests US$1.35 million in Mozam…

Cargill has joined forces with Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and plans to invest US$1.35 million to provide support for the Bilibiza Agriculture Institute (IABil), providing educational opportunities for farmers in...

Lesotho, IFAD partner to improve livelihoods of most vulnerable small-scale farmers

Lesotho, IFAD partner to improve livelih…

The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has announced US$62mn in funding to boost food security and nutrition, mitigate the impact of climate change and strengthen livelihoods for...

IFAD launches online tool for agricultural and rural development

IFAD launches online tool for agricultur…

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has launched the world’s first web-based tool, designed to collect and share agriculture and rural development solutions implemented in developing countries

UNDP supports Kenyan farmers through climate change project

UNDP supports Kenyan farmers through cli…

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in conjunction with the Kenyan government has launched a US$4.2mn project in arid and semi-arid regions to boost crop and animal production in the...

FAO stresses on agri-food system transformation in Africa

FAO stresses on agri-food system transfo…

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s director-general QU Dongyu has called for sustained and strategic investments to accelerate an agri-food system transformation in Africa in the face of an impending food...

Agritrade to contract 5,000 tobacco farmers in Zimbabwe

Agritrade to contract 5,000 tobacco farm…

Agritrade, Africa-focused tobacco contractor, is planning to support more than 5,000 farmers in Zimbabwe in the next cropping season, as the output of tobacco is estimated to surpass the targeted...

US$45.7mn loan and grant to boost Malawi food security

US$45.7mn loan and grant to boost Malawi…

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will provide a US$22.85mn loan and US$22.85mn grant to the Republic of Malawi

SeeTree raises US$30mn in funding to scale globally and expand into new crops

SeeTree raises US$30mn in funding to sca…

SeeTree, an AI-powered, end-to-end service that provides growers with intelligence on trees and tree clusters, has raised US$30mn in a Series B funding round led by the International Finance Corporation...

African leaders call for increase investment in IFAD to end rural hunger and poverty

African leaders call for increase invest…

Ten African heads of state have issued a strong call to other world leaders to increase their funding for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) or to risk threatening...

Prev Next