East African Community (EAC) meeting on Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN), 22nd – 24th May 2018
Francis Mwatuni and Dr. Suresh,L.M. : EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) convened a regional stakeholders’ forum on MLN on 22nd to 24th May 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Group Photo of the participants of the EAC-CIMMYT MLN Meeting
The objectives of the meeting were to:
- Appraise EAC Partner States and other regional stakeholders on the current state of MLN in the region and the management practices in place;
- Share knowledge and information on current activities including capacity building, awareness creation, technologies developed or under development and deployed to manage MLN;
- Introduce EAC Partner States to SOPs and Protocols developed to manage MLN and discuss the feasibility of recognizing and adopting the same by EAC Policy Organs;
- Identify areas that require enhanced coordination and complementarity among EAC Partner States in the management of MLN;
- Share the draft EAC regional MLN management plan and obtain feedback from stakeholders; and
- Provide an opportunity for EAC Partner States experts and stakeholders to visit the MLN quarantine facility in Naivasha.
The Incidence of MLN in EAC
The emergence of MLN in the East African Community in 2011 aggravated food insecurity situation and consequently impacted negatively on livelihoods of farmers. Maize is an important staple and commercial crop to the people and economies of East African Partner States. Many people depend on the crop directly or indirectly in terms of food, employment and income. The EAC Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security has consistently noted with concern the threat posed MLN and other emerging trans-boundary crop pests and diseases including the Fall Army Worm on food security, livelihoods and economies of the Partner States.
Provisions in EAC instruments of integration
Under Articles 105 and 108 of the Treaty, EAC Partner States have committed to cooperate in agriculture including the establishment of joint programs for the control of animal and plant diseases and pests. The Partner States also undertake to harmonize policies, legislation and regulations for enforcement of pests and disease control; harmonize and strengthen regulatory institutions; and harmonize and strengthen sanitary and phytosanitary services inspection and certification. In addition, Article 45(3) of the EAC Common Market Protocol on cooperation in Agriculture and Food Security calls for an effective regime of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, standards and technical regulations in the region.
In 2013, the EAC Partner States adopted the SPS Protocol. The principal objective of the SPS Protocol is to adopt and enforce sanitary and phytosanitary measures with a special focus on protection of human, animal and plant health in the region and to ensure safe trade.
Convening of EAC Regional Forum on MLN
In accordance with provisions of the SPS Protocol, the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) convened a regional stakeholders’ forum on MLN on 22nd to 24th May, 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The main objective of the Forum was to appraise EAC Partner States on the current state of MLN in the region and share knowledge and information on current activities including capacity building, awareness creation, technologies developed or under development and deployed to manage MLN.
The Forum was attended by participants from EAC Partner States (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi); Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization; Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resource Development Board; International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement; Seed Trade Association of Kenya; Uganda Seed Trade Association; Tanzania Seed Trade Association; The African Seed Trade Association; United States Agency for International Development; African Agricultural Technology Foundation Rwanda Private Sector Federation; and the EAC Secretariat.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Prasanna B. M, Director, Global Maize Program. He pointed out that combating trans-boundary crop pests and diseases calls for rapid response and strategic partnerships involving International organizations, national research programs and other partners. He informed stakeholders that efforts in the EAC are focused on minimizing the impact of the disease through various pathways including the development and deployment of MLN tolerant seed varieties. He appealed for support from the governments to accelerate scale up and deployment of varieties that have been released.
Mr. Kennedy Onchuru, representing USAID Kenya and East Africa thanked all the stakeholders for creating time to participate in the meeting. He thanked EAC and CIMMYT for providing a regional platform to share information, lessons and experiences on various aspects of MLN.
The Forum was officially opened by Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, Deputy Secretary General In-Charge of Productive and Social Sectors at the EAC. From the outset, he commended CIMMYT and USAID for the technical and financial support in convening the Forum. He thanked all the stakeholders for attending the meeting and in particular acknowledged resource persons for accepting to share their knowledge, lessons, experiences and best practices on MLN management.
Hon. Bazivamo mentioned that the Forum was an important platform for raising levels of awareness and catalyzing discussions on strategies to improve preparedness and response to MLN and other emerging and re-emerging high impact trans-boundary pests and diseases including the Fall Army Worm. He reiterated that the emergence and re-emergence of transboundary crop pests and diseases calls for enhanced mobilization of resources, strengthening of partnerships and investment in sustainable technological solutions. He appreciated the leadership of CIMMYT in collaboration with other partners in supporting implementation of various interventions geared towards reducing the spread and impact of the disease.
On 24th May, 2018, stakeholders visited the MLN screening facility in Naivasha. The visit enhanced deeper understanding of theoretical and practical aspects of MLN. The MLN facility provides quarantined and regulated environment to screen maize germplasm from public and private maize breeding programs to identify and develop MLN tolerant/resistant varieties.
The workshop generated a number of key recommendations including the need for:
- EAC Partner States to work closely with the private sector including national seed trade associations to demonstrate the benefits of MLN tolerant varieties and enhance commercialization rate of released varieties;
- EAC Partner States to strengthen the linkages between breeding and commercialization by empowering and creating an enabling environment (through policy and regulatory instruments) for private sector engagement, farmers and researchers; and
- The EAC Secretariat to expand the draft MLN management plan to make robust provisions for Early Warning and rapid response to emerging and re-emerging transboundary crop pests and diseases.
Trackback from your site.