Latest Updates

  • International coalition keeps devastating maize disease at bay, but risks still linger

    by Joshua Masinde, Jérôme Bossuet / December 10, 2018 NAIROBI, Kenya (CIMMYT)  — When maize lethal necrosis (MLN) was first reported in Bomet County, Kenya, in September 2011 and spread rapidly to several countries in eastern Africa, agricultural experts feared this emerging maize disease would severely impact regional food security. However, a strong partnership across eight countries between maize research, plant health organizations and the private seed sector has, so far, managed to contain this devastating viral disease, which can wipe out entire maize fields. As another emerging pest, the fall armyworm, is making headlines in Africa, African countries could learn a lot from the initiatives to combat MLN on how to rapidly respond to emerging crop pests and diseases. Delegates of the 3-year review conference pose for a group photograph at the ICRAF Campus in Nairobi. (Photo: Joshua Masinde/CIMMYT) On November 19-20, 2018, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), national research and plant protection agencies and ...

  • Screening cycle for deadly MLN virus set to begin in Kenya during January 2019

    By Dr. Suresh,L.M. : The maize lethal necrosis (MLN) artificial inoculation screening site in Naivasha, Kenya will begin its phenotyping (screening/ indexing) cycle of 2019 at the begining of January, 2019 and in other four intervals, interested organizations from both the private and public sectors are invited to send maize germplasm for screening. In 2013, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) jointly established the MLN screening facility at the KALRO Naivasha research station in Kenya’s Rift Valley with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture. MLN was first discovered in Kenya in 2011 and quickly spread to other parts of eastern Africa; the disease causes premature plant death and unfilled, poorly formed maize cobs, and can lead to up to 100 percent yield loss in farmers’ fields. CIMMYT and partners are dedicated to stopping the spread of this deadly maize disease by effectively ...

  • CIMMYT laments the passing of Theodore Assimwe, Rwandan research pillar

    Rwandan crop researcher Theodore Assimwe. NAIROBI, Kenya (CIMMYT) — The CIMMYT family mourns the demise and honors the valuable contributions of Rwandan crop researcher Theodore Assimwe, who died on November 11, 2018. An active and dedicated CIMMYT partner and one of eastern Africa’s most promising agricultural scientists, Assimwe was instrumental in Rwanda’s response to Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN), coordinating pathogen surveillance and characterization and a key project for integrated management of the disease. He was a pillar of the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), with a well-recognized research track record in maize, cassava, and sweet potato. His capacity-building activities, together with those of CIMMYT, fostered the pursuit of advanced studies by numerous research colleagues. His passion, commitment, and scientific rigor gained the respect of agricultural researchers, national plant protection organizations, and many other partners, including members of the global scientific community. The CIMMYT community respectfully extends its sympathies and wishes for peace to the family of Assimwe.

  • CIMMYT shows partners in Kenya new breakthroughs in maize and wheat research

    By Jérôme Bossuet and Dr. Suresh,L.M./ October 10, 2018 NAIROBI (Kenya) — Members of the International Maize Improvement Consortium (IMIC) and other partners had a chance to go on a field visit to the Kiboko and Naivasha research stations in Kenya on September 18 and 19, 2018. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Kenya Agriculture & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) held their annual partner field days to share the latest developments in maize and wheat research. On the first day, CIMMYT invited IMIC researchers to evaluate Material Under Development at the Kiboko site. These maize lines are not publicly released yet but are available to IMIC partners, so they can select the most promising ones for their research and crop improvement work. Each seed company was looking for certain traits to develop new hybrid varieties. For instance, Samit Fayek, from Fine Seeds Egypt was looking for ‘erect type’ maize, as he wants ...

  • Training on MLN Rapid Diagnostic Kits and MLN-Free Seed Production in Kenya

    By Dr. Suresh,L.M., Samuel Angwenyi and Francis Mwatuni : Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) disease is among the myriad of regional and transboundary threats that continue to render havoc to the integrity of food security in Eastern Africa region since its first detection in 2011 in Kenya. The Eastern African region, especially Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzanian remain vulnerable to the disease, which calls for strengthening capacity for its management among key stakeholders including maize seed sector players. Following efforts by AATF, AGRA, CIMMYT and other stakeholders in the seed industry to develop harmonized MLN Free Seed Production SOPs in 2016, seed companies have always been encouraged to adhere to the SOPs to curb the losses caused by MLN disease.  After several follow-up and backstopping missions between 2016, 2017 and 2018 on SOP implementation by seed companies and seed outgrowers in respective countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Rwanda), certain practices were identified which ...

  • Screening cycle for deadly MLN virus set to begin in Kenya during September 2018

    By Dr. Suresh,L.M. The maize lethal necrosis (MLN) artificial inoculation screening site in Naivasha, Kenya will begin its phenotyping (screening/ indexing) cycle of 2018 at the begining of January, 2018 and in other four intervals, interested organizations from both the private and public sectors are invited to send maize germplasm for screening. In 2013, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) jointly established the MLN screening facility at the KALRO Naivasha research station in Kenya’s Rift Valley with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture. MLN was first discovered in Kenya in 2011 and quickly spread to other parts of eastern Africa; the disease causes premature plant death and unfilled, poorly formed maize cobs, and can lead to up to 100 percent yield loss in farmers’ fields. CIMMYT and partners are dedicated to stopping the spread of this deadly maize disease by effectively managing ...