More than 2 million farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are growing the new varieties for more food and income.
EL BATAN, Mexico, 12 March 2012.
Known as “Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa” (DTMA), the winning initiative is responsible for the development and dissemination of 34 new drought-tolerant maize varieties to farmers in 13 project countries—Angola, Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—between 2007 and 2011. An estimated 2 million smallholder farmers are using the drought-tolerant maize varieties and have obtained higher yields, improved food security, and increased incomes.
CIMMYT, Washington State University and Total Land Care (TLC) recently published a series of extension bulletins to spread awareness of the benefits that different conservation agriculture (CA) techniques could have for farmers in Malawi.
The study, “Sustainable Intensification and Diversification on Maize-based Agroecosystems in Malawi,” took place over three years in the districts of Nkhotakota and Dowa, and was sponsored by MAIZE CRP through a Competitive Grants Initiative.
Sub-Saharan African farmers typically apply less than 20 kilograms of fertilizer per hectare of cropland — far less than their peers in any other region of the world. In 2014, partners in the Improved Maize for African Soils (IMAS) project developed 41 Africa-adapted maize varieties that respond better to low amounts of nitrogen fertilizer and are up for release in nine African countries through 24 seed companies.
Research on maize improvement by international agricultural research centers and partners in SSA is increasing harvests in the region and enhancing farmers’ lives.
In Nigeria, farmers say that improved varieties are addressing constraints such as the parasitic weed Striga, drought, poor soil fertility and pests and diseases that limit productivity, reduce yield and make farming unattractive. For farmer Hajiya Hafsatu Riruwai the encounter with improved maize technologies last year brought a profound change to her life.