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Maize farmers advised to spray crops

10 April 2013, 17:43 Arap Yego

Farmers in Western Kenya who are preparing to plant maize this season has been advised to spray their crops to prevent losing their harvest to Maize Lethal Necrosis disease.

The disease adversely affected over an estimated 50 hectares of maize plantations in the region last year and in parts of the south rift, leading to low maize yields.

Speaking to the media in Bungoma, Protus Chemonges the Kenya Seed Company Sales Representative in charge of Bungoma and Busia Counties said spraying of maize crop with specified insecticides is a precautionary measure that will cushion the farmers from losses in case the deadly disease that is known to wipe out almost the entire harvest strikes.

According to Chemonges, Maize Lethal Necrosis disease which was reported in Teso District last year may spread to other areas in the region, as small insects like aphids, thrips, beetles, maize hoppers are known to spread it.

"We urge farmers to spray their maize farms a few days after they sprout; they should do so for 4 to 5 times at an interval of two weeks," he said and quickly added: "The recommended insecticides which are also available in Agrochemical stores include Thunder, DuduThrin, Buldock, Dataalfa, Ogor among others."

The Kenya Seed Company official asked farmers to monitor the growth of their planted maize crop keenly and report to the nearest agriculture office incase they notice any abnormality.

At the same time, Chemonges reaffirmed that there is sufficient maize seed in the company's branches in the region and that their agents and stockists too have enough.

He asked farmers to buy certified seeds from the company as they are safe and affordable.

The government owned seed company recently rescinded its decision to hike the maize seed price by over 120 percent.

“We have reduced the prices of seeds following a decision by the Government to offer subsidies to cushion maize production cost at the company,” said Kenya Seed Company Corporate Communication Manager Sammy Chepsiror.

A 2kg pack of maize seed has been reduced from KES 360 to KES 300, a 10kg pack from KES 1 800 to KES 1 500 and a 25kg pack from KES 4 500 to KES 3 750.

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