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Kenyan Corn Fungus May Reduce Crop Yields, State Agency Warns

Corn production in Kenya may decline as a result of a fungal disease reported to have destroyed more than 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of the crop in the southwest of the country, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service said.

The agency is currently conducting laboratory tests on samples of the fungi before identifying it, Esther Kimani, general manager of phytosanitary services at Kephis, said in an e-mailed response to questions today. The symptoms of the disease, which has been reported in Bomet County, 175 kilometers (109 miles) northwest of Nairobi, the capital, include leaf discoloration and wilting, she said.

“It has a significant effect on yield of the crop, hence the cause of concern,” Kimani said.

Bomet County is in Kenya’s Rift Valley region, which accounts for 80 percent of the East African nation’s corn output. The country was expected to produce 26 million bags of the staple grain last year, Business Daily, a Nairobi-based newspaper, reported in September.

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