The Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Dr Joseph Made has officially opened the maize lethal necrosis quarantine facility in Mazowe, the first of its kind in the SADC region as part of  efforts to prevent  the spread of the deadly maize necrotic leave disease in the country and the entire SADC region.

The quarantine facility is a joint initiative between the government of Zimbabwe and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT).

Maize lethal necrosis disease that was first detected in continents outside Africa has now spread to East Africa, raising fears that the disease might affect Zimbabwe and the entire SADC region, hence the opening of the maize lethal necrosis quarantine facility in the country.

Officially launching the facility in Mazowe today, Dr Made said the country needs to prepare itself against deadly diseases and pests to ensure the country’s food security is not threatened.

He also said the launch of the quarantine facility illustrates the strong relationship that has developed between government and CIMMYT since the signing of the first memorandum of understanding in 1985.

Maize lethal necrosis is a devastating disease capable of causing huge economic losses wherever it occurs and is caused by a double infection by two viruses that are Maize Chlorotic Mottle Virus and Sugar Mosaic Virus.