Assessment of Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) prevalence and its impact on maize production in Rwanda
Maize lethal necrosis (MLN) is a serious viral disease of maize, which was first reported in Rwanda in 2013. Being aware of the disastrous effects it had caused in regional countries, we set out to study its prevalence, level of awareness among farmers on management practices and its impact on the overall maize production and farmer livelihoods during 2015. This country wide study targeted a total of 539 respondents drawn from all the 30 districts, down to each sector. We used stratified, purposive and random sampling to collect data. Our results indicated a wide spread of disease to the entire country. We ran cumulative logistic regression models and found out that the chances of having higher levels of MLN in Western Province, for example, are ten, three, one and one times the chances in the Eastern Province, Kigali, Northern Province and Southern Province, respectively. Results also showed that a significantly higher number of respondents (54.4%) were not aware of MLN, which is a concern for its management. The assessment of MLN impact on maize production indicated that the disease had caused losses of up to 100% and was threatening the production of this food security crop. The observed low levels of MLN awareness as well as inappropriate plant protection measures calls for stepping up of MLN awareness and management campaigns among the farming community to curtail its further spread.
Keywords: Maize lethal necrosis, Rwanda, prevalence, impact