New improved maize varieties in sub-Saharan Africa

Agriculture researchers have embarked on the replacement of old varieties of maize with some of the over 230 improved drought tolerant seeds across 12 African countries, according to an official statement in Kigali. The statement issued by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) indicates that currently, only 57 percent of the maize-growing area in sub-Saharan Africa is planted with improved varieties.

Through sustained efforts, big varietal replacement and dissemination successes have been reported in Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, where about 30 old varieties – between 13 and 60 years old – are soon to be replaced, the statement said.

Official figures indicate that by 2015, some 60,000 metric tons of drought tolerant maize were produced in sub-Saharan Africa covering approximately 2.4 million hectares and benefiting about 6 million households.

Partners are also emphasising the need to intensify this work to cover another 2.1 million hectares of sub-Saharan Africa’s maize growing area with over 54,000 tons of modern varieties by 2020 for 5.4 million households.

The 12 targeted African countries are Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Benin, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria.

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