Screening cycle for deadly MLN virus set to begin in Kenya during October, 2023

By Dr. Suresh, L.M.:  The maize lethal necrosis (MLN) artificial inoculation screening site in Naivasha, Kenya will begin its next phenotyping (screening/ indexing) cycle 2023 at the beginning of October 2023, 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 its partners are dedicated to stopping the spread of this deadly maize disease by effectively managing the risk of MLN on maize production through screening and identifying MLN-resistant germplasm. The MLN screening facility supports countries in sub-Saharan Africa to screen maize germplasm (for hybrid, inbred and open-pollinated varieties) against MLN in a quarantined environment.

This is the largest dedicated MLN screening facility in East Africa. Since its inception in 2013, the facility has evaluated more than 230,000 accessions (more than 330,000 rows of maize) from more than 15 multinational and national seed companies and national research programs.

Hence, here is the schedule for 2023 – annual phenotyping (Indexing / Screening). Partners can now plan for annual MLN Phenotyping (Screening / Indexing) during 2023 with the below-mentioned schedule. The improved and streamlined approach for MLN phenotyping should enable our partners to accelerate breeding programs to improve resistance for Maize MLN for sub-Saharan Africa.

When the seeds are available  Planting Period – Planned MLN Screening / Indexing
December Second Week of January MLN Indexing
March Second week of April MLN Screening
June Second Week of July MLN Indexing
August Second Week of September MLN Screening
October Second week of November MLN Indexing

 Please send all your seeds or trial kits on or before 20th September to the MLN Screening Facility at Naivasha, also a soft copy of the field book, packing list.

More information about the disease and resources for farmers can be found on CIMMYT’s MLN portal.

Please note that it can take up to six weeks to process imports and clear shipments.

For assistance in obtaining import permits and necessary logistics for the upcoming screening, please contact:

Dr. L.M. Suresh
Tel: +254 20 7224600 (direct)


United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
P.O. Box 1041–00621
Nairobi, Kenya.

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