Sunday, May 18, 2014

Crop diseases, a challenge to nguruman farmers

By Maison Nteetu

As farmers straggle to move out of bondage of poverty, crop diseases tries to make the farmer’s dream delay and sometimes kill their hopes of getting a good harvest. Crop diseases, as well as livestock diseases, act as the farmer’s stumbling block of their success.

Maize lethal necrosis disease for example, has made a lot of farmers to almost lose hope on growing maize after a serious destruction of the crops.

Some of the characteristics of the disease include among others, yellow stripes on leafs and stem of the affected plant. 

 An affected plant. photo by Maison
A good example is a farmer who planted half an acre of maize and the farm was affected by maize lethal necrosis disease. This leaves many hopeless and unwilling to continue growing crops.

After a month almost all the plants turned brown. They seem to be ready for harvest but they bear no grains.
Maize lethal necrosis disease has no cure according to plant-wise investigation. However, a plant clinic held on the first and last week of the month helps farmers to understand ways on how they can prevent their plants from being affected.
Mr Kibinge, A plant doctor analysing some samples. Photo by Maison
Some of the preventions include:
  •  Avoid moving plants from infected regions to non-infected regions to reduce spread of the disease.
  • Avoid continues planting of maize crops to stop persistence of virus and possible vectors.  Practice crop rotation.
  •  Avoid planting recycled seeds.
  • Keep the field free from weeds.

Once the plant is affected, the farmer is advised to uproot and destroy the plant by burning or burying it 1m deep.

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