Project Promises Hardy Maize for Africa
A Mexican-African project to develop better and more climate-tolerant maize varieties using traditional breeding techniques has been launched. The partners involved in the Stress-Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA)project aim to develop varieties that are more tolerant to heat, drought, diseases and low soil fertility than existing types. These efforts are meant to combat the devastating effect of ongoing climate change on maize growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. The stress-tolerant varieties and hybrids are expected to increase maize productivity by 30-50 per cent for smallholders, according to one project partner, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). STMA plans to develop, produce and promote 70 stress-tolerant varieties across 12 target countries, and aims to put improved maize varieties in the hands of nearly five-and-a-half million smallholder households by the end of 2019. “The project will use modern breeding technologies that will confer the desired resistance to pests and diseases and tolerance to climatic stresses,” STMA project leader Tsedeke Abate said in a statement.