GMO success story: South African farmer accused of witchcraft after achieving 1,600% corn yield increase

fall armyworm mgmt
GMO Bt corn resists attacks from the fall armyworm

TELA maize products are transforming livelihoods at [the] household level in Matibidi village, Mpumalanga province in South Africa. Meet Mr Sam Maebela, a seasoned grain and vegetable farmer who realized exponential increase in his maize yield from the 1 drum (200 kgs) he harvested from 1.5Ha in June 2017 to 17 drums (3,400 kgs) from the same piece of land in the same period in 2019; translating to a highly significant yield increase of 1600%.

sam maebela
South African farmer Sam Maebela

When the dreaded fall armyworm (FAW) attacked maize farms in Matibidi Village, many farmers abandoned their farms because of the heavy infestation. The Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture partnered with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and supplied TELA seed to farmers in Mpumalanga province including Mr Maebela.

Related article:  Viewpoint: 'GMOs cause cancer' and 17 other persistent health myths debunked

“…. I harvested more than 17 drums and there is no one in my area that has harvested as many drums as me …. In fact, the community is now scared of me because they think my produce was actually via witchcraft …. A lot of people no longer come to this yard because they fear me. They say I practice witchcraft, but I am not worried. I just want them to see the maize, that’s all” said Mr Maebela in a recent monitoring visit made by the ARC.

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