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Addressing Challenges in Maize Breeding to Deliver Improved Maize Seed to African Smallholder Farmers

By Florence Sipalla


In Swaziland, maize is a staple crop and a source of livelihood for many. “The work on our staple crop cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Vusumuzi Mkhonta, acting director, Department of Agriculture, Research and Specialist Services in Swaziland. “If anything were to happen to maize, the entire population might perish.”

Maize in Tanzania, Breakthroughs Yet to Come

 cover of DTMA September 2014 Tanzania has the second largest area planted to maize in Africa, after Nigeria. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) data, approximately 4.12 million ha of land was planted to maize in Tanzania in 2012.Other staples include cassava, paddy, common bean, sorghum, sweet potato, banana, groundnut, sunflower and several others. A Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) adoption monitoring survey of 900 maize-growing households (HH) in nine districts in northern Tanzania conducted in 2012 found that farmers allocate nearly 70 percent of their land to this crop. 

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Angola Fast-Tracks New Drought-Tolerant Maize Varieties

DTMA-Bulletin3-no2This issue of DT Maize focuses on drought-tolerant maize varieties in Angola.

Angola is a country of immense mineral wealth and enjoys huge agricultural potential because of its vast land and water resources. It produces a number of staples; a 2013 DTMA household survey shows maize occupies about 63 percent of all the crops grown in Angola.

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DTMA on the blog

  • Uganda Team Shines at DTMA Awards for Eastern Africa
    By Florence Sipalla/CIMMYT The Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project recognized country teams that demonstrated excellence in breeding and disseminating droughttolerant maize varieties during the Regional Maize Working Group (MWG) meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 17 to 19 February. For the third time since 2011, Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) won […]
  • Seed Systems Team Strategizes and Plans for Africa
    By Florence Sipalla/CIMMYT   The CIMMYT-Africa seed systems team met in Nairobi, Kenya, on 7 February to take stock of progress in 2013, identify challenges and brainstorm on turning those challenges into opportunities. Global Maize Program (GMP) Director B.M. Prasanna and members of the breeding, communications and socioeconomics teams also attended.   The teams’ successes […]
  • Trained maize breeders can bring huge benefits to Africa
    By Cosmos Magorokosho/CIMMYT CIMMYT recently conducted an intensive, three-week course in Kenya for 37 young maize breeders – including 10 women – to provide them the knowledge and skills to use modern breeding methods efficiently in their maize programs. The course included participants from national programs and seed companies in 14 African countries. Dennis Kyetere, […]
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