Gender specialist Vongai Kandiwa discussing gender work at CIMMYT and the importance of agricultural scientists taking up gender issues which have tremendous impact on the way people practice agriculture.
CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program will establish and operate a maize doubled haploid (DH) facility in Kiboko, Kenya. With financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this centralized DH facility will be able to produce at least 100,000 DH lines per year by 2016, thus strengthening maize breeding programs in Africa and improving breeding efficiency. The DH technology will reduce the cost and time for breeding work as it enables rapid development of homozygous maize lines and fast-tracking development and release of elite maize varieties. The facility will be built at the Kiboko Experimental Station on 20 hectares of land provided by the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). The Maize DHAfrica Project will both establish the facility and refine the DH technology in collaboration with the University of Hohenheim, Germany.
“When Richard Pamo, the then Caritas Development Coordinator [Homa Bay] introduced the metal silo technology to me in 2008, I felt I had received the solution to my perennial problems of storing my grains, particularly maize that was prone to weevil attack,” said Bishop Philip Anyolo of the Catholic Diocese of Homa Bay, Kenya, to a visiting team from the Effective Grain Storage for Sustainable Livelihoods of African Farmers Project (EGSP-II). “I instantly ordered two silos, of 1- and 1.8-ton capacity. And I have never been disappointed. I was so satisfied with the ability of the metal silos to protect my maize against weevils that I acquired another 720-kg capacity metal silo for my mother in 2009.”
Three drought-tolerant maize hybrids performing well in drought-prone areas and tolerant of Malawi’s major maize diseases have been released in Malawi. The new hybrids, said a member of the Agricultural Technology Clearing Committee, will contribute to the subsidy program that has seen Malawi become self-sufficient in maize production and even export surplus maize to neighboring countries. They will also be important in mitigating climate change. “Maize accounts for over 70% of cereal production,” maize commodity team leader Kesbelll Kaonga explained the importance of maize for the country, adding that Malawians consume on average about 300 kg per year.