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Drought-tolerant maize could increase food security in Zimbabwe

| | October 10, 2017
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

A new study from scientists with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) shows that drought tolerant (DT) maize varieties can provide farming families in Zimbabwe an extra 9 months of food at no additional cost [read the full study here]. As climate change related weather events such as variable rainfall and drought continue to impact the southern African nation at an increasing rate, these varieties could provide a valuable safety net for farmers and consumers.

The study found that households that grew DT maize were able to harvest 617 kilograms more maize per hectare than households that did not grow DT maize varieties. This translates into $240 per hectare extra income for households that grow DT maize varieties, equivalent to 9 months’ worth of additional food security.

As 93 percent of households surveyed grow improved maize varieties using seed purchased from local markets, this shows that by switching to DT varieties local farmers could greatly improve their livelihoods and food security at no additional cost. Currently, only 30 percent of households surveyed grow DT varieties.

Adoption of drought-tolerant maize varieties by farmers is crucial to maintaining food security in the region. Studies have shown that CIMMYT DT maize varieties can increase yields by 40 percent under severe drought conditions compared to local commercial varieties.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Drought tolerant maize provides extra 9 months of food for farming families

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