Malawian researchers studying maize disease
Researchers at Bvumbwe station are carrying out tests and studies with the purpose of ensuring that another maize disease doesn’t get into the country which is in some countries in Africa including neighboring Tanzania.
Senior plant pathologist at the Department of Agriculture Research Services (DARS), Jonny Masangwa in Blantyre said it is in the process of developing resilient maize varieties that would withstand the disease if it happens to find its way in.
“We have developed a supposedly resilient maize variety that has been sent for tests against MLN in Kenya where the disease is already registered in order to see whether that would be a solution crop in an event of an outbreak,” explained Masangwa
To safeguard the country’s staple grain from the devastating virus, he said DARS has also ensured there is a stop to maize seed importation from abroad.
Masangwa added the country only has a maximum of three pathologists which is not enough as at least every research station requires one with an extra team to help in the studies which are seemingly becoming more complex in this era of new and more diseases and pests.
The Ministry’s director of crops blames the current pests and disease boom on climate change making it more necessary to have fully staffed research stations.