Partners of the Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project held their annual meeting May 7–9, 2019, in Lusaka, Zambia, to review the achievements of the past year and to discuss the priorities going forward. Launched in 2016, the STMA project aims to develop multiple stress-tolerant maize varieties for diverse agro-ecologies in sub-Saharan Africa, increase genetic gains for key traits preferred by the smallholders, and make these improved seeds available at scale in the target countries in partnership with local public and private seed sector partners.
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.
A farmer shucks cobs of hybrid maize in Malawi. Photo: Peter Lowe/CIMMYT.
The agricultural research sector is taking aim at a longtime foe of African smallholder farmers — old seeds.
More than 100 research partners and funders will meet in Kampala, Uganda from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, 2017 to discuss ways to encourage Africa’s seed sector to replace old maize varieties with new, robust and more resilient varieties and help smallholders realize yield potential amid climate change challenges.
The meeting, to be opened by Hon. Vincet Bamulangaki Sempiija, Uganda’s minister of agriculture, marks the first anniversary of the launch of the Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project. STMA was launched in Africa to help smallholders mitigate the impact of combined multiple stresses affecting maize farming, including, heat, drought, poor soil fertility, Striga and such diseases as Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN), Gray leaf spot, Turcicum leaf blight among others.