by Carolyn Cowan
Access to optimal seed is vital for smallholder farmers to
achieve high quality crops that give the best yield possible, allowing them to
maximize financial and nutritional gains. Understanding and evaluating the
methods by which smallholders obtain their seed is fundamental to guaranteeing
farmers are receiving high quality seed that will support improved livelihoods.
CIMMYT, in partnership with the Instituto de Investigação Agronómica (IIA), the Angolan national agricultural research institute, is helping the country shift from using maize landraces to locally adapted materials.
Angola is rebuilding its infrastructure after a prolonged civil war that slowed down agricultural production. During the war, farmers could not access improved maize seed and relied on landraces. “After the war, they started shifting from the landraces to open-pollinated varieties (OPVs),” explained Peter Setimela, CIMMYT seed systems specialist. “Five years ago, there were no improved maize seeds in Angola. Now, we have some good OPVs and hybrids.”