A farmer dries maize on his rooftop in Zimbabwe. CIMMYT/ F. Sipalla
By Julie Mollins
A comprehensive study of genetic gains resulting from long term breeding work on improved hybrids and open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) in eastern and southern Africa shows that with appropriate funding, maize yields can continue to increase in extreme heat and drought conditions.
The world faces the challenge of growing more maize, responsibly and sustainably. Development of high yielding maize varieties resistant to different biotic and abiotic stresses quickly and efficiently is the need of the hour. Use of new tools and technologies is critical in achieving rapid progress in development of improved maize germplasm.
Farmers Nuri Bekele, Tefera Tamirat & Melaka Bekele harvest drought tolerant maize in Ethiopia. Photo: P. Lowe/CIMMYT
Marker-assisted recurrent selection (MARS) is helping maize breeders develop higher yielding and drought-tolerant improved varieties faster than ever before, according to a recent study from scientists at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center(CIMMYT).
“With conventional breeding, it often takes up to 7-8 years for varieties to reach farmers,” said Yoseph Beyene, a CIMMYT maize breeder working with the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) and one of the authors of the study. “With MARS, those varieties take only 5 years to reach farmers, and display greater genetic gain, even under drought conditions”
CIMMYT is pleased to announce the release of a set of 16 new CIMMYT maize lines (CMLs). These CMLs were developed at various breeding locations of the CIMMYT Global Maize Program by multi-disciplinary teams of scientists in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia. These lines are adapted to the tropical and subtropical maize production environments targeted by CIMMYT and partner institutions.