Maize is the most important staple crop in the world.
Is drought-resilient maize an answer to pressure on African farmers through climate change? The Center for Development Research (ZEF) organised a panel of experts to address this topic in Bonn, Germany.
Maize is an important staple food crop in most of sub-Saharan Africa, and it is grown on around 33 million of the total 194 million hectares under cultivation in the region. However, El Niño and global warming have had a dramatic effect on farming in many areas. The 2015-2016 El Niño event was one of the strongest on record. Among the countries affected in Africa was Ethiopia, which saw its worst drought in decades. The country, which is the continent’s fifth-largest maize producer, suffered huge crop losses, and an estimated 1.35 million farmers were left without new seed.
MONTPELLIER, France (May 15, 2017) – CGIAR has launched a new portfolio of research programs designed to reduce by 150 million the number of people who do not have enough food to eat in developing nations. By transforming agricultural and food systems, the CGIAR Portfolio 2017-2022 is the second generation of CGIAR’s Research Programs and Platforms aimed at reducing rural poverty, improving food and nutrition security and improving natural resources and ecosystem services.
NAIROBI, Kenya – Smallholder farmers in eastern, southern and western Africa are facing a major threat to their crops from the fall armyworm, which has so far damaged almost 300,000 hectares of maize.
To address this rapidly unfolding emergency, about 130 experts and stakeholders from African governments, international and national agricultural research organizations, non-governmental organizations, national plant protection organizations, development partners, and donor agencies will meet on April 27 and 28, 2017 in Nairobi to discuss and develop an effective management strategy against the fall armyworm pest in Africa.
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.