text size: smaller reset larger

 

 
  • Home
  • News brief
  • African governments urged to increase uptake of drought tolerant maize

African governments urged to increase uptake of drought tolerant maize

CIMMYT has called on governments to strengthen community-based seed producers (CIMMYT)
CIMMYT has called on governments to strengthen community-based seed producers
CIMMYT

Researchers have called on African governments to encourage the development of private seed companies and improve input, pricing and marketing policies to increase the uptake of Drought Tolerant Maize (DTMA) varieties across sub-Saharan Africa. With the potential to increase yields by 20 to 30 per cent, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) estimate that DTMA could generate an additional US$1.5 billion if existing maize varieties were completely replaced.

Uptake of DTMA in Benin has remained low at 20 per cent, compared to 85 per cent in Kenya. Wilfred Mwangi, head of CIMMYT's global maize program, attributes this difference to Kenya's vibrant privately-owned seed industry. "Governments must support investment in seed companies and also strengthen community-based seed producers including community-based organisations and NGOs to increase adoption," he says. Mwangi also recommends government subsidies to tackle high seed prices. "It has been done in Malawi and Kenya with good results," he states. "This is the way to go for Africa."

Low returns and unfair prices for maize grain also discourage farmers from investing in quality seeds, say IITA plant breeders, Sam Ajala and Baffour Badu-Aparaku. Recommendations include on-farm storage facilities to reduce waste, de-regulation of grain markets to allow maize exports and encouragement for seed companies buy back surplus maize. CIMMYT and IITA also call for extensive on-farm testing and demonstration by national research and extension bodies, training for seed company staff, increases in volumes of breeder seed and educational campaigns to increase uptake.

Written by: Maina Waruru

Date published: October 2010

  • Home
  • News brief
  • African governments urged to increase uptake of drought tolerant maize
 

Have your say

 

The New Agriculturist is a WRENmedia production.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.
Accept
Read more