Christopher Chiza, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives
The Minister of Agriculture, Food
and Cooperatives Eng Christopher Chiza has revealed that the country has been invaded by maize disease known as Maize lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND).
told the National Assembly in Dodoma yesterday that the disease was first detected by maize researchers when they were surveying farms at Mlangariri in Arusha district and Mbulu in Karatu district.
MLND disease was first seen at the Bomet Province in the Rift Valley, in Kenya in September, 2011.
said the ministry formed a task force to conduct a survey in all districts of the northern zone bordering Kenya.
says the disease affects maize at all growth stages, though symptoms begin when the maize reaches a 60cm height.
When the disease attacks the plant in its early stages, all leaves at the top of the plant commonly known as dead heart die causing the whole plant to die as well.
When it is seriously affected by the disease, the maize becomes attacked by frost.
said the disease can wipe out up to 100 percent of a farm's maize crop, adding that the government has taken various measures including sensitisation of farmers and awareness campaign on how the public can recognise and curb the disease.
The ministry has also been distributing leaf lets, brochures, billboards, and advertisements in newspapers.
said the ministry in collaboration with the office of the Chief Justice has formulated regulations to control the disease.