This is one of a series of articles about the 20 research projects for which CONNECTED provided pump-prime funding. A full set of articles about all 20 projects can be found here.

Occurrence, distribution and molecular diversity of viruses on groundnut crops in Kenya

A project identifying diseases that reduce groundnut production and developing disease control strategies

Groundnut is an important food and cash crop in Kenya, where it contributes more to farmers’ incomes than maize or bean crops. As well as providing food groundnut also improves soil fertility, yet current yields are well below their potential, partly due to the devastating impact of plant viruses that are spread by insect vectors.

This project is identifying virus diseases of groundnut in the main producing areas of Kenya, employing RNA-sequencing technology and other contemporary diagnostic tools. This knowledge will be used to develop future disease control strategies.

The project is creating critical scientific expertise and tools to strengthen early career researcher skills for virus detection and diagnosis, including the principles of developing integrated pest and disease management technologies.

An increased yield and quality of groundnuts will increase farmers’ incomes, and contribute to the improvement of livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Kenya. The project’s findings will also have direct relevance to groundnut producers in other Sub-Saharan African countries.


  • Kenya
  • UK

International research collaboration

  • Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya
  • The James Hutton Institute, UK


  • Hassan Were (PI)
  • Mariam Nyongesa
  • Lesley Torrance
  • Sue Jones

Network members can find further details about those involved in the project by logging in to this site as a member, and using the Member Directory.

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