CIMMYT / Crop-Livestock / Crops / HUMIDTROPICS / IITA / Intensification / Maize / Southern Africa / Tanzania

Integration of Maize Lethal Necrosis disease management in crop-livestock intensification in East Africa

At this week’s international conference on Integrated Systems Research for Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture, Njeri Kimunye presented a poster reporting on research in Tanzania to integrate Maize Lethal Necrosis disease management in crop-livestock intensification.     Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) is implementing research activities in East Africa (EA) using a Crop/livestock intensification approach to improve the productivity of smallholder agricultural systems in the region. Preliminary results on variety selection during the 2012 cropping season revealed that varieties are not a significant factor in bridging the current maize yield gap, while good agronomic and natural resource management are critical factors. This implies that the use of improved crop varieties combined with good crop and natural resource management in crop/livestock intensification would significantly improve the productivity of smallholder agricultural systems. However, the outbreak and rapid spread of Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) in EA has emerged as a big challenge to maize production and has significantly affected the productivity of smallholder maize based agricultural systems as well as the commercial maize production sector. Thus, the presence of MLN is a great set back to such improved systems and compromises achieving the anticipated progress. MLN results from mixed infection of maize plants with Maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV, genus Machlomovirus) and potyviruses and it has been established that it is Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) in combination with MCMV causing MLN. Results from initial screening of a large volume of pre-commercial and commercial maize varieties from EA have shown that most of the varieties are highly susceptible but some maize inbred lines and hybrids possess moderate tolerance. To improve the resilience of crop/livestock smallholder production systems and enhance their productivity, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) through Africa RISING program is evaluating over 2,000 maize varieties for resistance/tolerance to MLN and determining their agronomic adaptability in Babati, Tanzania. We believe maize varieties with resistance to MLN will significantly contribute to the resilience of the crop/livestock smallholder production systems. The co-authors of the poster are: Bright Jumbo (CIMMYT), Dan Makumbi (CIMMYT), Njeri Kimunye (CIMMYT), George Mahuku (IITA), Mateete Bekunda and Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon (IITA) More about the conference: Web page Twitter hashtag: CGIAR_Systems

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