News from the Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa project

Over 200 million households in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) depend on maize for food security and their well-being, yet maize yields in this region are very low compared to other parts of the world. Maize farmers face drought and other climate stresses, emerging pests and diseases, low soil fertility. The slow adoption of new stress tolerant varieties means farmers are unable to reach their yield potential.

The Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) aims to develop in a cost-effective way multiple stress tolerant varieties, and through partnerships with local public and private seed sector, make these improved seeds available at scale in SSA.

2019 screening cycle for deadly MLN virus in Kenya – April Planting


Stephen Mugo of CIMMYT explains the MLN screening facility in Naivasha to partners. Photo: Joshua Masinde/CIMMYT.

The maize lethal necrosis (MLN) artificial inoculation screening site in Naivasha, Kenya will begin the second interval of its phenotyping (screening/ indexing) cycle of 2019 at the beginning of April 2019. Interested organizations from both the private and public sectors are invited to send maize germplasm for screening.

CIMMYT and UAS-Bangalore to establish a maize doubled haploid facility in Karnataka, India


Representatives from CIMMYT and UAS-Bangalore signed the collaboration agreement on February 18, 2019.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore (UAS-Bangalore) have signed a collaboration agreement for establishing a maize doubled haploid (DH) facility at the Agricultural Research Station in Kunigal (ARS-Kunigal), Tumkur district, Karnataka state, India.

Insights into breeding strategies for biofortification of maize with zinc and provitamin A

by Carolyn Cowan

Biofortification is at the forefront of efforts to address hidden hunger, the consumption of a sufficient number of calories, but still lacking essential nutrients such as vitamin A, iron or zinc.  Biofortification increases the amount of vitamins and minerals in a crop through conventional plant breeding or agronomic practices, and can generate measurable health and nutrition improvements in consumer populations. Researchers from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) have recently published two studies that comprehensively review current breeding strategies for biofortification of maize with zinc and provitamin A that provide a working outline for maize breeders. The provitamin A study was developed with researchers from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan.