by Jennifer Johnson
Left to right: Miguel Lengua, director general of Maxi Semillas S.A.S; Bram Govaerts, Latin America regional director at CIMMYT; Martin Kropff, CIMMYT director general; Howdy Bouis, interim HarvestPlus CEO; and Felix San Vicente, CIMMYT maize breeder at the launch of new biofortified zinc maize. Photo: Jennifer Johnson/CIMMYT.
A new zinc-enriched maize variety was released in Colombia on February 23 to help combat malnutrition in South America.
Zinc is an essential mineral that plays an important role in human development, but is not naturally produced by humans. Zinc deficiency can lead to impaired growth and development, respiratory infections, diarrheal disease and a general weakening of the immune system. In Colombia, an average of 22 percent of the population is affected by zinc deficiency. However in certain regions, such as the pacific coast and Amazonia, up to 65 percent of the population is deficient in zinc.
A new comprehensive integrated pest management (IPM)-based technical guide produced by international experts will help scientists, extension agents and farmers to tackle the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), which has rapidly spread across the African continent in the last two years, decimating maize crops in its path.
“Fall Armyworm in Africa: A Guide for Integrated Pest Management,” jointly produced by Feed the Future, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE), provides tips on fall armyworm identification as well as technologies and practices for effective control.
Photo: Christopher Bendana
Unprecedented droughts have hit Uganda’s farmers hard in recent years, affecting household income and food security by drastically cutting maize yields, a staple crop in the country. In 2016, at least 1.3 million people in Uganda faced hunger and urgently needed food aid after a dry spell decimated harvests, leaving some with less than one meal per day. When MLN, a maize disease with the ability to cause extreme or complete crop loss in maize, arrived in Uganda in 2013, farmers needed a variety that could cope.
The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is offering a new set of improved maize hybrids to partners in eastern Africa and similar agro-ecological zones, to scale up production for farmers in these areas.
National agricultural research systems and seed companies are invited to apply for the allocation of these pre-commercial hybrids, after which they will be able to register, produce and offer the improved seed to farming communities.
The deadline for applications is February 10th, 2018.
To apply, please fill out the CIMMYT Improved Maize Product Allocation Application Form
*Please note: This form has been updated since the last cycle; please download a fresh copy from the link above. Applications using the old format may not be accepted.
Information about the newly available hybrids, application instructions and other relevant material can be downloaded here: Announcement of the Results of the 2017 CIMMYT Eastern Africa Regional Trials