Welcome to the ASARECA Napier grass stunt and smut project                                              

The ASARECA Napier grass disease resistance project web site is designed to raise awareness on two major diseases affecting Napier grass in Eastern Africa. Stunt (caused by tiny bacteria) and smut (caused by fungi) can cause serious reduction in yields if not managed, therefore threatening the dairy industry and associated livelihoods of the region.

The Napier grass stunt and smut project was funded by the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) playing a coordinating role between the project partners in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya.
This was a research and development project assessing genetic diversity to identify sources of resistance to smut and stunt in Napier grass in East Africa and making the information available to stakeholders tackling ways of mitigating the hazard. In the project, local and international institutions were working with farmers and other rural entities to find solutions to the threatening diseases.

The main technologies generated by the project activities were:

  • Improved management practices were developed to reduce the incidence and spread of stunt disease of Napier grass in farmer fields
  • A probe based on b-tubulin, an optimised extraction protocol and ITS primers were identified for detection of smut in Napier grass tissue using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology
  • Three Napier grass genotypes from Tanzania and 28 from Kenya have been identified that show good productivity under frequent cutting with no stunting that may tolerate stunt disease

Although the ASARECA funded project has been completed, the project partners continue to work on these two important diseases and will post new information on this web page as it becomes available.

Raising awareness in Kenya

headsmut leaflet swa