Every planting season presents a different kind of challenge for smallholder farmers, and for those in Siaya’s Alego sub-county in Western Kenya, the nightmare of a recurring crop-killing weed is all too real. Known by its local name kayongo, the Striga weed is one of the leading causes of crop loss, a significant dent to farmers’ livelihoods and major hindrance to food security in the area.
Posts Tagged ‘Maize’
2015 marked a year of exciting advances in scientific research and strengthened partnerships for the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE). Sixty-four improved maize varieties, based on CIMMYT/IITA germplasm, were released through MAIZE partners in 2015, including 44 in sub-Saharan Africa, 13 in Latin America, and 7 in Asia. In addition to high and stable yield potential, some of the special traits stacked in these varieties include drought tolerance, heat tolerance, nitrogen use efficiency, enhanced protein quality, and resistance to diseases such as tar spot complex, turcicum leaf blight, gray leaf spot, and maize streak virus (MSV), as well as tolerance to the parasitic weed Striga.
by Emma Quilligan / July 6, 2016
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.”
The CIMMYT maize germplasm bank is the lifeblood of many MAIZE activities, preserving the genetic diversity that is necessary to develop improved maize varieties farmers need to feed a growing population in a changing climate.
The bank contains over 28,000 unique collections of seed of maize and related species from 88 countries. These collections represent the genetic diversity of unique native varieties and wild relatives of maize and are held under long-term storage for the benefit of humanity in accordance with the 2007 International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The collections are also studied and used as a source of diversity to breed for crucial traits such as heat and drought tolerance, resistance to crop diseases and pests, grain yield productivity and grain quality. Seed is freely shared on request to researchers, students, and academic and development institutions worldwide.