2019 MAIZE Youth Innovators Awards – Africa Winners Announced

LUSAKA (Zambia) – The CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) has officially announced the winners of the 2019 MAIZE Youth Innovators Awards – Africa. These awards recognize the contributions of young women and men under 35 who are implementing innovations in African maize-based agri-food systems, including research-for-development, seed systems, agribusiness, and sustainable intensification.

Award recipients will attend the upcoming Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, May 7-9 where they will receive their awards and have the opportunity to present their work. The project meeting and award ceremony will also allow these young innovators to network and exchange experiences with MAIZE researchers and partners. Award recipients may also get the opportunity to collaborate with MAIZE and its partner scientists in Africa on implementing or furthering their innovations.

Winners of the 2019 MAIZE Youth Innovators Awards – Africa receive their awards at the STMA meeting in Lusaka, Zambia. From left to right: Admire Shayanowako, Blessings Likagwa, Ismael Mayanja and Hildegarde Dukunde. Fifth awardee Mila Lokwa Giresse not pictured. (Photo: J.Bossuet/CIMMYT)

Maize productivity must increase four-fold to meet growing demand in Africa; implications for low emissions development?

By Hein ten Berge and Martin van Ittersum (Wageningen University & Research)


Demand for maize, a staple crop in sub-Saharan Africa, is growing. Can the region achieve self-sufficient production without converting natural lands to cropland? Photo: CCAFS

Steep population growth and changing dietary preferences will quadruple maize demand in sub-Saharan Africa. Can production keep up? At what cost to climate change?

Using data from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria in West Africa and from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia in East Africa, our research shows that average production of 1.7 t/ha of maize in 2010 must increase to 6.8 t/ha to meet estimated demand in 2050.  

To achieve this, per-hectare maize output must grow by about 3.5% per year, a rate never witnessed at national or supra-national scales anywhere in the world in rainfed agriculture.

Corresponding nutrient inputs must grow by over 7% annually to prevent further soil depletion and degradation.

Are such yield increases possible? 

Our answer is a resounding yes. Using the Global Yield Gap Atlas, we calculated an average rainfed yield ceiling of 9.2 t/ha for maize across the nine countries, with area-weighted country averages ranging from 6 t/ha in Tanzania to over 12 t/ha in Ethiopia.

CIMMYT and Clinton Foundation launch partnership to improve access to climate-resilient maize seed in eastern and southern Africa

New partnership will help farmers in Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania have better access to seeds that help maize crops better withstand growing challenges of drought, pests, diseases, and climate change.

A farmer’s field in Malawi under conservation agriculture, showing rotation of maize and groundnut, and the retention of crop residues. (Photo: T. Samson/CIMMYT)

NEW YORK and TEXCOCO, Mexico — Working together to improve access to and availability of climate-resilient maize varieties in eastern Africa, the Clinton Foundation and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) are launching a partnership that will not only improve access by smallholder farmers to modern maize varieties but also aim to bolster food security in Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania. The Clinton Foundation is launching this partnership through the Clinton Development Initiative, which works in the region to improve economic opportunity for farmers through better access to markets, technology, and inputs like seeds and fertilizer.