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Farmers lose hope after maize infection

08 May 2013, 12:37 Mwangi Karanja

The Kenya National Federation of Agricultural producer (KENFAP) Trans Nzoia County chairperson William Kimosong has criticized the manner in which the government is tackling the maize disease menace.

Last week, Maize farms in West Pokot and Trans Nzoia counties were reported to have been affected by unknown disease that was feared to be Maize Lethal Necrosis.

Speaking to the farmers on phone, Kimosong said that maize farmers are yet be educated on preventive measure they should take to avert the deadly disease.

He reiterated that the ministry of agriculture should carry out public awareness in all affected areas before the situation gets out of hand.

“Our farmers cannot identify the disease because they lack the know how. Farmers need to be informed in order to be able to report any infection that sets in,” he said.

He said farmers are worried because their investment has been crushed in less that a week and they don’t know what to do next.

Kimosong pointed out that the disease which was identified last week in the county spread faster, a situation that could have drastic implications if not addressed urgently.

"Farmers need the way forward and not silence from the government," Kimosong said.

John Osundo, a maize farmer at Arba in Kitale, said that he has lost one acre of maize crop to the disease.

“I don’t know what to do because I didn’t know the reason leaves were turning yellow until my neighbor asked me to report the matter saying it was Lethal Necrosis. I was forced to uproot maize stalks but the symptoms are reappearing in the remaining crops,” he said

Areas already affected in Trans Nzoia County include Nyakinywa in Kaplamai divisions.

The Trans Nzoia East director of Agriculture Ling’ang’a revealed that maize planted late in the season were identified to be prone to the disease.

He urged the area residents to plant certified seeds to stop the spread of the disease that she said threatens food production in the country.

“Farmers should stop planting any type of maize seed because the country has enough quality seeds. They also need to buy them from the recommended distributors,” he advised.

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