Tanzania maize grain seeds don’t pose risk of transmitting MLND viruses- report  

DAR ES SALAAM: TANZANIA Plants Health and Pesticides Authority (TPHPA) has said that maize grain seeds from Tanzania do not pose a risk of transmitting viruses causing Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND).

This was said yesterday in a report given by the Director General of TPHPA, Professor Joseph Ndunguru, noting that a survey conducted in different zones in Tanzania have shown that there is no sign of the virus causing MLND.

“A comprehensive survey of MLND was conducted in the Lake Zone (Mwanza, Kagera, Shinyanga, Mara), Northern Zone (Kilimanjaro, Manyara, Arusha) Southern Highlands Zone (Ruvuma, Njombe, Iringa, Rukwa and Katavi), Central zone (Dodoma and Singida), Western Zone (Tabora) and the Eastern Zone (Tanga and Morogoro),” said Prof Ndunguru.

Prof Ndunguru said that 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).

“The 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,” he added.

On December 18 and 19 2023, TPHPA imposed an import ban on maize and soybeans from Malawi because a thorough pest risk analysis was conducted to update the phytosanitary import requirements of produce from Malawi.

Prof Ndunguru said that TPHPA’s Pest Risk Analysis identified the presence of the Tobacco Ringspot Virus (TRSV) in Malawi which poses a significant risk to soybean production in Tanzania.

He said the ban was extended to transit shipments and aims to safeguard the rapidly growing soybean subsector in Tanzania, protecting local farmers from potential economic losses and preventing the introduction and spread of the virus.

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