Maize lethal necrosis (MLN): Efforts toward containing the spread and impact of a devastating transboundary disease in sub-Saharan Africa. uri icon

abstract

  • Maize lethal necrosis (MLN), a complex viral disease, emerged as a serious threat to maize production and the livelihoods of smallholders in eastern Africa since 2011, primarily due to the introduction of maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV). The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), in close partnership with national and international partners, implemented a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional strategy to curb the spread of MLN in sub-Saharan Africa, and mitigate the impact of the disease. The strategy revolved around a) intensive germplasm screening and fast-tracked development and deployment of MLN-tolerant/resistant maize hybrids in Africa-adapted genetic backgrounds; b) optimizing the diagnostic protocols for MLN-causing viruses, especially MCMV, and capacity building of relevant public and private sector institutions on MLN diagnostics and management; c) MLN monitoring and surveillance across sub-Saharan Africa in collaboration with national plant protection organizations (NPPOs); d) partnership with the private seed sector for production and exchange of MLN pathogen-free commercial maize seed; and e) awareness creation among relevant stakeholders about MLN management, including engagement with policy makers. The review concludes by highlighting the need to keep continuous vigil against MLN-causing viruses, and preventing any further spread of the disease to the major maize-growing countries that have not yet reported MLN in sub-Saharan Africa.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020