In Africa, farmers experience drought conditions often characterized by delayed rains, minimal and poorly distributed or failed rains altogether. For a small village in Olkalili, northern Tanzania – a semi-arid area, these harsh weather conditions are prevalent. As a result, farmers from this locality have often had to contend with low maize yields. However, the story of Valeria Pantaleo is one of hope and triumph following a handsome harvest from a drought-tolerant and nitrogen-use efficient maize variety HB513, she planted for the first time.
By Brenda Wawa
CIMMYT recently received an award in recognition of its efforts and contributions towards developing and strengthening Malawi’s maize seed system. Kennedy Lweya, Seed Business Development Specialist for East and Southern Africa, received the award on behalf of CIMMYT, during the Seed Trade Association of Malawi Congress and Expo––the first of its kind––held on 22–23 October 2015 at the Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe.
Drought is one of the biggest challenges that rain-dependent farmers in Africa face. As a result, millions of smallholders and their families become increasingly vulnerable to crop failure that leads to hunger and deeper poverty. What options do smallholders have in the face of drought?