Rust, a disease that affects wheat has been on the rise in Kenya and continues to lower wheat production in the country , making many farmers who depend on wheat for livelihoods sink deeper in poverty. Stem, leaf and yellow rusts are the most known types of rust disease globally. Rust is more prevalent in Rift Valley region of Kenya .
Researchers from Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and Egerton University assessed which stage in wheat growth is appropriate for the use of fungicide in Njoro, Eldoret and MauNarok areas in Rift Valley, kenya.
According to the study, wheat farmers can apply fungicide at tillering and flowering stages of wheat growth to reduce rust disease and improve wheat yields . Read more on wheat growth stages
Also, farmers must spray wheat early especially when the infection is at 5% and spray again after two weeks . This according to the study will reduce leaf and yellow rust.
The researchers propose an integrated rust disease management strategy as a long term remedy in fighting rust disease in Kenya.
Further, they add that the government and other stakeholders in agriculture must develop capacity building programs to train wheat farmers on fungicide application process to enhance their skills and boost wheat production.
Read more below.