DroughtTEGO® to address food insecurity in Africa

By Florida Maritim

October 01, 2017

Maize in a farm. FILE PHOTO | KALRO

In the recent past, African farmers have suffered harsh climatic conditions that has wiped away their livestock and crops. According to research, three-quarters of the world’s severe drought occurs in Africa, affecting small scale farmers whom rely on rainfall to water their crops. Maize is the most affected crop, yet over 300 million people rely on it as staple food.

Like the rest of Africa, Kenya’s drought situation has affected maize production as farmers suffer severely from unpredictable weather and low yields. However, thanks to Water efficient maize for Africa project, WEMA for short, which is a public-private partnership project that has ensured that introduced a drought tolerant maize variety with high yields under moderate to address the drought menace.

The WEMA project is being co-ordinated by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

To this extent farmers have been relieved from the stress of bad weather which in past has resulted to loss of their hard earned sweat in the farm. Most semi areas in Kenya, such as the Machakos, Kitui, Embu and Tharaka Nithi regions can now enjoy planting the new maize variety called DroughtTEGO maize.

Other than its drought-resistance properties, the new variety can also grow well in well watered conditions.

A follow up on the progress of this maize variety in the areas initially experimented has shown promising results with farmers and experts giving positive testimony as far as the variety is concerned. Nithi in Tharaka-Nithi, Central Kenya is one of the regions where farmers have given positive feedback as they harvested in bulk despite the drought that hit the area in the previous months.

“TEGO maize is a good maize variety as compared to other breeds due to its unique properties” said Mary Nthiga, TEGO farmer in Nithi.

The TEGO maize seed is drought tolerant and according to experts the maize variety can do even better under normal rain but mostly it is preferred to be grown in water efficient areas.

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