Posts Tagged ‘drought tolerance’

Emergency seed project brings relief to drought-affected farmers in Ethiopia

July 6, 2016
Rameto Tefo lost his entire harvest to drought last year. Without the maize seed provided through the emergency seed project, he said he would have had to beg his neighbors to provide food for his two wives and eight children. Photo: E.Quilligan/CIMMYT

Rameto Tefo lost his entire harvest to drought last year. Without the maize seed provided through the emergency seed project, he said he would have had to beg his neighbors to provide food for his two wives and eight children. Photo: E.Quilligan/CIMMYT

ADDIS ABABA — As Ethiopia struggles with its worst drought in 50 years, farmers pin their hopes on seed delivered through emergency seed projects.

“The situation last year was so bad that we could only laugh or cry,” said Rameto Tefo, a smallholder farmer from Tsiaroa district in central Ethiopia. “We were highly affected by the drought and we are now reliant on the assistance of the government and organizations such as CIMMYT. Without the seed provided to us from CIMMYT through the emergency seed project, I would have had to beg from my neighbors or just plant grain and hope that it germinated.”

Maize seed systems in Africa: Understanding the basics

CIMMYT maize seed system specialist James Gethi inspects a maize field in Nzega, Tanzania. Photo: Kelah Kaimenyi/CIMMYT.

CIMMYT maize seed system specialist James Gethi inspects a maize field in Nzega, Tanzania. Photo: Kelah Kaimenyi/CIMMYT.

Maize is not only a staple in diets across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) – it is a cash crop that supports millions of farmer households. Maize is grown on over 33 million hectares in just 13 of 48 SSA countries – accounting for 72% of all maize produced in the region. This crop, without a doubt, is king.

However, rising temperatures and erratic rainfall patterns threaten maize production across the continent. Total crop loss occurs if there’s little or no rainfall at the flowering stage, when maize is most vulnerable. And when temperatures increase, soil moisture is quickly depleted and farmers have to resort to prolonged irrigation, a costly undertaking for smallholders.

Drought-tolerant (DT) maize varieties produce better yields both in good and bad seasons compared to most commercial varieties available in the region. Since 2006, CIMMYT has developed 200 drought-tolerant varieties and hybrids, many of which also possess desirable traits such as resistance to major diseases.

IWD 2016: Super women of Africa

By Brenda Wawa and Johnson Siamachira

For International Women’s Day 2016, CIMMYT and MAIZE celebrate women farmers in Africa, who through their resilience, bravery and commitment have weathered challenges in maize farming to put food on the table. These women contribute to enhancing agricultural growth and food security.

Valeria and her daughters and part of their bountiful maize harvest from ‘ngamia’ seed. Photographer: CIMMYT/Brenda Wawa

Valeria and her daughters and part of their bountiful maize harvest from ‘ngamia’ seed.
Photographer: CIMMYT/Brenda Wawa

Of maize farmers, coming calves, waxing oxen, and comely camels: a Tanzanian tale of triumph over tribulations

Valeria and her daughters and part of their bountiful maize harvest from ‘ngamia’ seed. B. Wawa/CIMMYT’

Valeria and her daughters and part of their bountiful maize harvest from ‘ngamia’ seed. B. Wawa/CIMMYT’

By Brenda Wawa

About her last maize harvest in August 2015, Valeria Pantaleo, a 47-year-old wife and mother of four from Olkalili village, northern Tanzania, waxes lyrical: “I finally managed to buy a calf to replace my two oxen that died at the beginning of the year due to a strange disease.” Valeria relies on the oxen to plow her two-acre land.