Ghana, Nigeria, others develop work plans for adoption of drought tolerant maize

maizeResearchers, policy makers and other stakeholders from four African countries have developed work plans towards the rapid dissemination and adoption of drought tolerant maize.

Officials from Ghana, Nigeria, Mali and Benin who are working under the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project converged on the campus of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan to develop the work plans.

The meeting in Ibadan, which ended on Friday, also provided participants the opportunity to take a retrospect of the past and chart a way forward.

Participants reminded stakeholders that the project provided a platform for researchers to demonstrate to donors and policy makers in Africa the benefits of research.

“This is an opportunity for us to show our policymakers that with the right kind of approach, we can make a difference,” Dr Tsedeke Abate, Coordinator of the DTMA Project said, according to a statement issued by IITA April 8, 2013.

According to Dr Abate, increasing the cultivation of drought-tolerant maize varieties in Africa will bring the necessary transformation and the needed boost for maize production in the continent.

Other drivers of adoption of drought tolerant varieties, he noted, include increasing the participation of women in maize projects and also the creation of new/strong partnerships.

Dr Ylva Hillbur, IITA Deputy Director General (Research), commended the researchers for their efforts in developing and dissemination of DT maize.

She noted that the DTMA project is important to Africa as it is  addressing one of the most important constraints (drought) to maize production in the continent.

Launched in 2007, the DTMA project provides insurance against the risks of maize farming, using conventional breeding to develop and disseminate varieties that can provide a decent harvest under reduced rainfall.

Dr Baffour Badu-Apraku, IITA Breeder who is also the West Africa Coordinator of the DTMA project said that the project had so far recorded impressive milestones, mostly through the development of new varieties.

Dr Badu-Apraku stated that between 2007 and 2010, Nigeria released 18 drought tolerant maize varieties while Ghana released 13 under the same period.

The third phase of the DTMA project ends 2016 and is been implemented in 13 African countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

By Ekow Quandzie

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