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Afriseed Partnership Brings Hybrid Seeds to Small Farms in Zambia

By Florence Sipalla 

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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.

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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.” 

Maize in Nigeria, Ready to Take Off

The DT Maize Bulletin for March 2014 focuses on Nigeria. 

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With more than 5.56 million ha of land planted to maize in 2013 (or about 16% of all of Africa’s maize area combined), Nigeria has the right to claim the position of the giant of maize production in Africa. Only Tanzania claims a distant second position, with about 4.1 million ha. Maize production in the former country had a humble beginning; it stayed around one million ha through the early 1980s. Accelerated growth started in the mid-1980s, when hybrids were introduced, exceeding the 5 million ha mark in the mid-1990s, following the introduction of early and extra-early varieties; it declined or remained slow during the late 2000s, mainly due to drought and erratic rainfall, but picked up thereafter.

Download the Bulletin to read more...

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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