Drought tolerant maize for farmer adaptation to drought in sub-Saharan Africa: Determinants of adoption in eastern and southern Africa
In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), "maize is life," due to its importance to food security and economic wellbeing. Around 40 % of Africa’s maize-growing area faces occasional drought stress, resulting in yield losses of 10–25 %. Around 25 % of the maize crop suffers frequent drought, with losses of up to half the harvest. To reduce vulnerability and improve food security, the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project has made releases of 160 drought tolerant (DT) maize varieties between 2007 and 2013. These have been tested in experimental and farmers’ fields, and disseminated to farmers in 13 African countries through national agricultural research systems and private seed companies. Yields of the new varieties are superior to those of currently available commercial maize varieties under both stress and optimum growing conditions. Although the benefits of DT maize for African farmers have been repeatedly predicted, realization of those benefits depends on farmer uptake, which has received limited empirical study. We use new plot-level data from surveys of 3,700 farm households in six countries (Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) to measure DT maize adoption rates and their determinants. The data reveal considerable inter-country variation in farmer uptake of DT maize, from 9 % of maize plots in Zimbabwe to 61% in Malawi. The major barriers to adoption include unavailability of improved seed, inadequate information, lack of resources, high seed price, and perceived attributes of different varieties. Based on the results, we recommend that seed companies and agro-dealers ensure adequate supply of DT maize seed in local markets and sell seed in affordable micro-packs (1 or 2 kg). Furthermore, the DTMA project and partners should ramp up promotional efforts to ensure widespread awareness and understanding of the benefits of the new DT maize varieties.
Field trials are very important in maize research. In particular, breeders conduct different types of fi eld trials
in the process of developing new varieties. Each type of trial has its peculiarities. Apart from those conducted
by the individual breeders in their research programs, there are collaborative trials conducted nationally or
internationally. Annually, national collaborative trials are constituted from candidate varieties submitted by
participating researchers in a country. Similarly, IITA coordinates international trials from candidate varieties
developed by IITA’s scientists and their national counterparts in the countries of WCA. Data obtained from
fi eld trials are intended for use in arriving at decisions on the varieties to release, the agronomic practices to
recommend, and the disease, insect, or weed control measures to adopt. Therefore, a certain measure
of uniformity of execution that would minimize spurious results is expected in national and regional
The experience of maize researchers accumulated over several decades in the subregion has clearly indicated
the need for training researchers and technicians in the conduct and management of maize fi eld trials. The data
recovery rate from national and particularly from international (regional) trials has never been 100% in WCA.
Very often, data returned to trial coordinators are not analyzable and are, therefore, not usable. Sometimes, the
coeffi cients of variation (CV) associated with measured traits are too large, thus rendering such data unusable.
Researchers defi ne certain traits differently. An example is plant height. Some researchers defi ne it as the
distance from the soil surface to the node bearing the fl ag leaf (topmost leaf); some others defi ne it as the
distance from the soil surface to the height of the central tassel branch.
The purpose of this book is to correct these anomalies as far as possible. The materials were carefully thought
out and are presented in a logical sequence by the authors. The contents have been used in several training
courses and refi ned over time. Starting with the purpose and types of maize variety trials, the authors follow
with an exhaustive description of designing, laying out, and conducting maize variety trials. Sources of spurious
data in maize research include the timing and rate of application of agronomic practices, data collection,
harvesting, and preparation of data for analysis. The authors focus attention on these areas in four different
sections. Examples, illustrations, practice problems, materials needed for fi eld work, and revision questions
are given in the annexes. Students, technicians, as well as research scientists will fi nd this book an invaluable
companion in the execution of their research work.
This report is on CIMMYT trials in Kenya in 2011. The trial were grown by CIMMYT, National Agricultural Research Programs and private seed companies. Collaborators were encouraged to grow the trials under different types of conditions
Characterization of Maize Producing Communities in Bénin, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria. West Africa Regional Synthesis Report
Maize is becoming increasingly important as a food security crop in West Africa. However, recurring droughts constitute a continuous challenge to its production. Attempts at addressing the drought problem resulted in the conduct of a participatory community survey of maize production systems with about 20–40% probability of drought risk in four DTMA countries (Bénin Republic, Ghana, Mali, and Nigeria). The project is part of an initiative to develop and disseminate appropriate drought tolerant maize varieties in sub-Saharan Africa. The main objectives of the community survey were to complement household survey data, capture essential qualitative information and data that are difficult to obtain through formal household surveys, and serve as a pilot application for potential expansion through the African region. The survey was conducted in selected communities in two districts with high levels of maize production in each of the DTMA countries.