Posts Tagged ‘maize seed’

Women in seed systems in Africa: Grace Malindi

By: Rahma I Adam, Florence Sipalla, Pauline Muindi and Vongai Kandiwa

The maize seed sector in East and Southern Africa is male-dominated. Most seed companies operating in the region are owned and run by men. Often access to land and financial capital can be a constraint for women who are keen on investing in agriculture. However, there are women working in this sector, breaking social barriers, making a contribution to improving household nutrition and livelihoods by providing jobs and improved seed varieties.

The gender team within the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Socioeconomics Program interviewed 9 women involved in the seed business in this region as part of a collection of stories that will be published as a book this May. In honor of International Women’s Day, held March 8, 2019, the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) and CIMMYT would like to share some of their stories to recognize these women—and many others like them—and highlight the important work that women do in seed systems in Africa.

This is Grace Malindi, and this is her story:

Dr. Grace Malindi, 67, started Mgom’mera in 2014 with her sister Florence Kahumbe who had experience in running agro-dealer shops. Florence was key in setting up the business particularly through engagement with agro-dealers, while Grace’s background in extension was valuable in understanding their market. Grace has a Ph.D. in Human and Community Development with a double minor in Gender and International Development and Agriculture Extension and Advisory from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the U.S. Mngom’mera is a family-owned enterprise. Grace’s three children are involved in the business, serving as directors. Her sons Ulemu and Mwai advise on strategic partnership, marketing and business development while her daughter Darlis shares her expertise in finance and accounting. She designed the company’s accounting systems and trained staff on it.

Women in seed systems in Africa: Zubeda Mduruma

By: Rahma I Adam, Florence Sipalla, Pauline Muindi and Vongai Kandiwa

The maize seed sector in eastern and southern Africa is male-dominated. Most seed companies operating in the region are owned and run by men. Often access to land and financial capital can be a constraint for women who are keen on investing in agriculture. However, there are women working in this sector, breaking social barriers, making a contribution to improving household nutrition and livelihoods by providing jobs and improved seed varieties.

The gender team within the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Socioeconomics Program interviewed 9 women involved in the seed business in this region as part of a collection of stories that will be published as a book this May. In honor of International Women’s Day, held March 8, 2019, the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) and CIMMYT would like to share some of their stories to recognize these women—and many others like them—and highlight the important work that women do in seed systems in Africa.

This is Zubeda Omari Mduruma, and this is her story:

Dr. Zubeda Mduruma, 65, is a plant breeder. Raised by farmers, Zubeda took to agriculture from a young age as she enjoyed helping her parents in the farm. After high school, Zubeda obtained a BSc in Agriculture then joined Tanzania’s national agriculture research system, working at Ilonga research station. She then pursued her MSc in Plant Breeding and Biometry from Cornell University in the U.S. and obtained a PhD in Plant Breeding at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, while working and raising her family. “I wanted to be in research, so I could breed materials which would be superior than what farmers were using, because they were getting very low yields,” says Zubeda. In the 22 years she was at Ilonga, Zubeda was able to release 15 varieties.

IITA scientists recommend packaging and storage for yellow-seeded maize flour

Research has shown that compared to other packaging and storage facilities, polyvinyl plastic containers (PPC) and dark compartment storage have the highest retention of Pro-vitamin A carotenoid (pVAC) and xanthophylls in yellow-seeded maize.

Pro-vitamin A carotenoid (pVAC) foods contribute to the reduction of vitamin A deficiency diseases within the human body. Yellow-seeded maize flour, being a pVAC-rich food, needs the right packaging materials and storage conditions that retain pVAC as it is essential for health benefits.

International Maize Improvement Consortium for Africa ramps up seed innovations

by Carolyn Cowan

Maize is the most important staple food crop in sub-Saharan Africa, providing food security and a source of income to more than 200 million households. Nonetheless, maize yields in this region rank among the lowest worldwide.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) launched the International Maize Improvement Consortium for Africa (IMIC-Africa) in May 2018, to better engage with a committed set of partners from the public and private sector, and to achieve enhanced maize yields in Africa.

Group photo during the IMIC-Africa inception workshop in Harare, Zimbabwe, in May 2018. (Photo: CIMMYT)

Members of IMIC-Africa share a vision: meeting the challenges of maize production by scaling out and fully exploiting the potential of improved climate-resilient and stress-tolerant varieties in sub-Saharan Africa.