LATE BLIGHT MANAGEMENT MEETING

Late blight is a disease that is caused by a pathogen called phytophthora infestans whose primary host is potato but can infect other crops like tomato. This disease can infect potato foliage and tubers at any stage of crop development. Knowing the symptoms and disease cycle of this rapidly destructive disease is necessary to implement management options. Recently in some parts of Kenya it was observed that despite frequent fungicide applications at rates and time intervals in compliance with the manufacturers’ recommendations, farmers were still experiencing crop losses due to late blight. With regards to this development NPCK organized a potato stakeholder meeting to discuss late blight management on 13th November 2019 at NPCK offices. One major concern that was discussed was the pathogen resistance to some of the active ingredients that are in the fungicides used to control the disease. This led to a number of recommendations including but not limited to; professionalization of spraying through the use of Spray Service Providers (SSP) since this can help by ensuring right application rates and procedures are used in managing of late blight and also help solve the issue of farmers’ misuse of fungicides,  conducting of an in-depth study on active ingredients performance towards controlling blight so that farmers will be able to know which products and/or combination of products  to use, develop a Kenya Blight platform with roles similar to Euro-Blight which provides a list of chemicals based on their effectiveness for easy accessibility by farmers, conduct efficacy trials on blight resistant formulations and  address the issue of seed importation so as to minimize cross boarder disease introduction. The meeting agreed that a committee will be formed to actualize on the recommendations put forward. Companies and organiations represented during the meeting include State department of Agriculture, KEPHIS, KALRO, Syngenta, Bayer EA, UPL ltd, Crop Health Consultant Services, CIP, CORTEVA Agriscience, Hangzhou Agrochem, IFDC and Cooper K-Brands  

Potato stakeholders following the proceedings during the late blight management meeting

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