NaCRRI, ASARECA MLND trials in Eastern Uganda
Since the new ASARECA supported Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease project kicked off in 2014, progress has been registered in the two main sites in Eastern Uganda. In Bulambuli, one of the sites near Sironko district, the MLN screening trials established on April 27, 2014 to identify MLN resistant/tolerant varieties, are ongoing.
So far, four Screening trials have been set up; each replicated two times. Screening trial 1 has 85 varieties including 8 checks on a 0.150 Ha plot; screening trial 2 has 42 varieties, including two checks on a 0.09 Ha plot; screening trial 3 has 90 entries, including six checks on 0.16 Ha; and screening trial 4 with 55 entries, including two checks on approximately 0.14 Ha plot.
Besides, two farmer managed demonstration plots have been established using five varieties namely: 7H and 10H from NARO, CKHLN and CKH100732 from CIMMYT; and one variety from a seed company. The demonstrations were established on different planting dates to assess the effect of date of planting on MLN disease infestation.
MLN was reported in Bulambuli in 2013, which attracted the attention of the district agricultural officer and the ministry of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries. This informed the choice of the site for MLN screening. When the ASARECA project started, the district offered land to the National Crop Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) to carry out the screening trials under the MLN supported project.
At the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLLIRI), based in the Eastern district of
Tororo, three Screening trials have been set up. In screening trial 1, a total of 85 varieties including eight checks have been established on 0.150. Besides, 42 varieties, including two checks (on 0.09 Ha) and 90 entries, including six checks on 0.16 Ha are ongoing.
Overal, NaCRRI, the institution spearheading MLN research in Uganda, has so far sent 120 inbred lines to the screening facility in Naivasha regional facility in Kenya for conversion to MLN resistance. NaCRRI has also secured over 100 lines, which are being crossed with the CYMMIT and NARO lines to get hybrids which will also be sent for conversion.
Since MLND was detected in the sub-region in 2011, ASARECA has provided leadership to national agricultural research institutions and international partners by convening key stakeholders to strategize and develop a coordinated response to the disease. As part of this effort, ASARECA has been coordinating initiatives to identify maize lines that are tolerant to MLN and supporting efforts to release safe varieties.
The Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) disease is threatening food security for the majority of households in ECA. High yield losses in maize due to MLN ranging from 50 to 90% have been reported and can reach 100% where the disease pressure is high. Its presence has been confirmed in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia. However, there is paucity of information on its presence in South Sudan.
Update compiled by Ben Moses Ilakut
Communications and Public Relations
The article was produced with support from the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Unit