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CIMMYT-CCAFS Scientists Identify Maize Varieties That Can Withstand Drought and High Temperatures in Zimbabwe

By Florence Sipalla and Jill Cairns/CIMMYT

Schoolchildren sang a song they composed about climate change and agriculture at a field day in Gokwe, Zimbabwe.

Schoolchildren singing a song they composed about climate change and agriculture at a field day in Gokwe, Zimbabwe.

CIMMYT scientists working on the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) have identified the most suitable maize varieties for high temperature and drought-prone environments in Zimbabwe. The scientists have been conducting research on drought- and heat-tolerant maize varieties in areas that are vulnerable to climate variability and climate change in Zimbabwe. Working in collaboration with Sustainable Agriculture Technology (SAT), a local NGO, the scientists are testing the suitability of drought- and heat-tolerant varieties as a solution to challenges farmers face in “climate hotspots.” These farmers are vulnerable to climate change due to erratic and limited rainfall, a situation that is worsened by increasing temperatures. “To identify these areas, we looked at climate change patterns across Zimbabwe which allowed us to identify five wards: Bikita, Gokwe, Gutu, Mutare and Zaka,” said CIMMYT physiologist Dr. Jill Cairns. The scientists then downscaled projections of monthly changes in rainfall and temperature in these wards to confirm their vulnerability and get a better understanding of the seasonal changes likely to occur by 2050.

Afriseed Partnership Brings Hybrid Seeds to Small Farms in Zambia

By Florence Sipalla 


Seed companies play an important role in providing smallholder farmers access to improved seed. CIMMYT’s breeding and seed systems teams have been supporting Afriseed – a brand produced under the flagship of Stewards Globe Limited – to build its product offering. The company has recently added maize hybrids (GV635 and GV638) to its portfolio, including open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) and legumes such as beans, cowpeas, groundnuts and soybeans.

Stewards Globe has received technical assistance through the CIMMYT-led Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) and Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Systems for the Eastern Province of Zambia (SIMLEZA) projects. “We don’t have a breeding program, and we need the partnership until we are big enough to breed,” said Stephanie Angomwile, the acting chief executive officer at Stewards Globe, which has been working with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) since 2010. Both AGRA and DTMA are funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF), while SIMLEZA is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  

Angola: Shifting from Landraces to Improved Maize Varieties

By Florence Sipalla/CIMMYT

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.” 

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, […]