Wed Jul 04 21:58:05 EAT 2018
Coffee farmers across the country have been put on alert for a coffee disease outbreak, identified as Solai-Elgon die back, which occurs mostly during rainy seasons. The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation has issued an advisory to farmers in high altitudes areas, and asked them to begin immediate management of the disease in order to contain further spread. Solai-Elgon die back is a bacterial blight disease that causes water-soaked swellings on the leaves, buds flowers and young branches and can destroy the plant completely, leaving the farmer with nothing to harvest. In the past, the disease was localised in Solai, Nakuru County and Mt. Elgon in Trans Nzoia, hence the name Solai-Elgon. But it has now been reported in Nyeri, Kiambu, Kisii, Nandi and Murang'a Counties. Kalro is asking farmers not to move between infected crops and un-infected ones in order to contain the spread, and to also contact the nearest KALRO centre immediately if they suspect their coffee is infected. Coffee is one of Kenya's top foreign exchange earners and a disease like this could cost the country billions in losses.