Earlier this year, the Ministry of Agriculture , Animal Industry and Fisheries (Maaif) released four new maize varieties. It was part of the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (Wema) initiative, which aims at coming up with maize that withstand stresses of drought and insect pests.
The effort was a collaboration with scientists, farmers, national research organisations and other stakeholders in five countries. These are Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa under a public-private partnership. Thus, the varieties are improved conventional white maize hybrids with the desirable qualities—drought tolerance, high yield and disease resistance.
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As the varieties are tolerant to conditions of drought, they have been tested to have a yield advantage of 20-30 per cent over the other commercial varieties.[They give] an average yield of three tonnes in moderate drought and eight tonnes in good seasons and thus help farmers increase their productivity.
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It is expected that farmers will adopt the drought tolerant maize varieties because they can withstand the increasingly regular effects of climate change especially drought and greater disease pressure.
Against this backdrop, the new varieties would lead to increased production, improve food security, wealth creation and therefore improve farmer livelihoods.
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