Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Home Research & Innovations Elgon Famers Get Maize Seed Tolerant to MLN Disease

Elgon Famers Get Maize Seed Tolerant to MLN Disease

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Prossy Nandudu

Farmers in Highlands like Elgon region are to grow maize that is suitable for their climatic conditions but also tolerant to the Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) disease. The disease according to the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) is a viral and can cause up to 100% yield loss.

The disease that was first spotted in Kenya in 2011 and 2012 and then observed in Uganda in 2013, is caused by a double infection of the maize chlorotic mottle virus and the sugarcane mosaic virus, according to CABI.

The disease is spread by vectors like maize thrips, rootworms, and leaf beetles that transmit the disease from plant to plant and field to field.

Scientific research from CABI adds that the disease is difficult to control because it is caused by combination of two or more viruses. That is why researchers from Uganda with support from development partners, have developed new maize seed that is tolerant to the disease but also suitable for climate conditions in high lands.

The new maize breeds were developed and bred by Buginyanya Zonal Agriculture Research and Development Institute, one of the research institutions under the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO).

While presenting the two candidate varieties at the NARO-Makerere University Scientific conference, at Speke Resort Munyonyo last week, Dr Frank Kagoda, a Principal Research Officer at Buginyanya ZARDI said the maize will further boost production of maize in Elgon region.

He explained that the two varieties that are also rich in protein but also high yielding have been presented to the Variety release committee in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries for approval before they can be released to farmers.

The two Quality Protein Maize varieties (Q150138 and Q160121) yield between 6 to 7 hectares, are tolerant to MLN and have higher levels of 0 – 7.0 t/ha), high levels of lysine and tryptophan (which have essential amino acids that build proteins in a plant).

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