The scorecard, as a marathon maize project winds up after eight years

Posted by , posted on Tuesday September 29 2015(3 years ago)

The Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) Project has contributed to a stronger food system in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, through more than 200 improved maize varieties to help farmers cope with climate change and low-fertility soils through collaboration.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Monday, 14th September, 2015 – Partners and funders of the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) Project will today convene in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to take stock of the project. DTMA concludes its work in Africa after eight years of work on improved drought-tolerant maize, to help maize farmers in sub-Saharan Africa mitigate drought.

“Africa’s food security faces a host of challenges, but undoubtedly, drought is the most devastating challenge because our farmers rely on rains to grow their food. The work undertaken by DTMA has created significant impacts. However, several challenges remain,” said Dr. B.M. Prasanna, Director of CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program as well as the CGIAR Research Program MAIZE. “Our work continues in sub-Saharan Africa to ensure farmers can access improved maize seed with drought tolerance and other relevant traits that contribute to increased and stable yields,” he added.

The four-day event will be officially opened by, among others, Dr. Fentahun Mengistu, the Director General of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR). The institute has been very instrumental in transforming maize productivity in Ethiopia, which has doubled in less than two decades. Maize now ranks first among cereals for production, and second in area planted.

The meeting will reflect on the project’s achievements in some of Africa’s breadbasket countries. DTMA has released more than 200 drought-tolerant maize varieties that perform significantly better under moderate drought compared to varieties already on the market, while yielding at par with – or better – than these existing varieties when there is no drought. DTMA varieties include hybrids that yield, on average, 15 percent more than widely grown commercial hybrids, giving farmers much higher yield regardless of climatic constraints – in good years or in bad years.

Continue reading on the CIMMYT website.

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