ARUSHA, TANZANIA-- A new maize variety has been introduced by agricultural researchers in Tanzania to curb the notorious maize lethal necrosis disease, commonly known as white maize disease, to farmers at the Seliani Agriculture Research Institute (SARI) farms outside this northern Tanzanian city.

The new seed variety thrives well in areas rising between 800 and 1,800 metres above sea level and can produce up to 10 tonnes of maize per hectare or 44 bags of grain on a single acre, said Honest Temu, the Technology Development Representative for Monsanto Tanzania and head of research.

He added that the new variety needs to be grown in areas with favourable rainfall and it takes between 130 and 150 days to mature. All seedlings ripen at the same time, which make the variety suitable for large estates.

The seed can also withstand negative effects of the climate in addition to being resilient to maize lethal necrosis disease (MLND), according to the researchers involved in the project.

In areas affected by farm mice, this new variety develops long, thick and piercing roots. Therefore, rodents cannot reach deep enough to destroy the roots, added Temu.

Monsanto Tanzania Director Frank Wenga said his company always worked to solve farmers' problems and deal with all issues affecting agriculture in the country. We conducted extensive research in Maroroni, King'ori, Kikatiti, makiba and Kikwe wards of Arumeru District and came up with the new seed variety, added Wenga.

The Tanzania Seed Trade Association (Tasta) Executive Director, Bob Shuma, said: Farmers do not want sweet words on good seeds, but prefer the availability of quality inputs and at affordable prices."