ARUSHA Tanzania (Xinhua) --
The deadly Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) disease
has wreaked havoc in northern Tanzania’s district of Arumeru,
subjecting hundreds of growers to unimaginable losses,
authorities said Friday.
Grace Solomon, an
agricultural officer in Arumeru District said five wards (with
more than 30 villages) have been affected with MLN.
The official said
that about 340 hectares of maize farms have been destroyed by
the deadly disease in the areas located on the slopes of Mount
Meru, the second tallest after Kilimanjaro.
MLN landed in
Tanzania a few years ago from neighbouring Kenya, hence posing a
major food security threat in the east African nation and the
region at large. The disease arises from the interaction of two
viruses: maize chlorotic mottle virus (MSMV) and a virus from a
group named potyviruses, often sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV).
farmers to venture into crop rotation farming technique, which
is one of the solutions being proposed to reduce the pain of MLN,”
she said, adding: “Other farmers are being told on their need to
go into other crops, but, farmers are reluctant to change,
arguing that other crops are not as lucrative as maize.”
according to Grace, helps to break the virus in the soil as the
disease is most rampant in maize plantations.
encouraging farmers to set on fire the remains of the maize
plants because if they are left in the field, the disease will
remain as the virus will also remain in that to infect another
crop in the next farming season,” Grace said.
Mrisho Gambo, Arusha
Regional Commissioner, called upon agricultural experts in the
region to work closely with farmers and advise them on how to
deal with the disease.
“As a government,
we’re working hard to find a sustainable and widely applicable
solution to the new maize challenge, which is now posing a food
security concern, particularly in the affected areas,” Gambo
said, directing extension officers to carry-out regular visits
to farmers and collectively address MLN.
one of the affected farmers in the district said farmers in the
area were disappointed by the disease, which seems not easily
contained using pesticides.
Like many farmers on
slopes of Mount Meru, Nkatisi’s hopes vanished in a thin air, as
nothing remained on his five-acre farm because of the disease.