Maize grain seeds from TZ safe from MLND viruses

TANZANIA: MAIZE grain seeds from Tanzania are safe and do not pose a risk of transmitting viruses causing Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND), it has been said.

This was revealed by the Tanzania Plant Health Pesticides Authority’s (TPHPA) Director General Professor Joseph Ndunguru in a statement released recently after conducting the survey.

Highlighting the motive for conducting the survey, Prof Ndunguru said that following the first report of the occurrence of MLND in the country, the Ministry of Agriculture through the TPHPA conducted monitoring surveys from 2016 to 2021 and recently in 2023 to establish the areas affected by the disease.

He said also the survey identified the viruses causing the disease in the maize fields and grain consignments.

“Laboratory analysis of the samples did not detect any of the viruses from the maize grains as well as the field samples from the major maize producing regions in Tanzania,” Prof Ndunguru said.

He said the comprehensive survey of MLND was conducted in the Lake Zone including Mwanza, Kagera, Shinyanga, Mara, Northern Zones of Kilimanjaro, Manyara, Arusha regions and the Southern Highlands Zone encompassing Ruvuma, Njombe, Iringa, Rukwa and Katavi regions.

Furthermore, he said the survey also involved the Central Zone of Dodoma and Singida regions and the Western Zone including Tabora Region and the Eastern Zone encompassing Tanga and Morogoro regions.

He said MLND of maize (Zea mays L.) is caused by a combination of Maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV) and any of the cereal viruses in the Potyviridae group including Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV), Maize dwarf mosaic virus (MDMV), Maize mosaic virus (MMV) and Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV).

He said productivity of maize in Africa can be affected by diseases like MLND.

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