Seeing is believing: demo farms accelerate adoption of stress tolerant maize

Posted on dtma, Eastern Africa News, Eastern Africa News, Eastern Africa Publications, Media&Stories, News, News & Media, News & Stories, News articles, News release, PhotoStories, Publications, Research News, February 19, 2020

Joshua Masinde

Over 400 farmers from Manyatta in Embu County were on February 7, 2020, invited to a demonstration farm to witness the performance of various high yielding, early to medium maturing, drought tolerant maize varieties. Such occasions aim to encourage them to adopt varieties whose traits they preferred the most.

Some of the farmers who showed up for the field day in Embu County on February 7, 2020. Image-Joshua Masinde/CIMMYT.

They were invited by the Seed Trade Association of Kenya (STAK), with the support of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in continuation of the work started under the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa Seed Scaling (DTMASS) project, which was later succeeded by the Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) initiative. In attendance were officials from the Embu County government led by its minister in charge of agriculture, Jamleck Muturi, as well as ten seed firms, some of who use CIMMYT’s germplasm for seed propagation and marketing.

A seed company representative explains to the farmers the merits of the variety on this plot. Image-Joshua Masinde/CIMMYT.

Farmers such as 29-year old Nancy Wawira not only learnt of best agronomic practices, but also identified a high yielding, drought tolerant and early maturing variety she hopes to plant on her farm next season.

Nancy Wawira admiring a maize crop with double cobbers in one of the demo plots. Image-Joshua Masinde/CIMMYT.

For others like 52-year-old John Njiru, a father of four children, a higher-yielding variety with a lot of foliage, which remains green even after the maize cob has dried, is what he came looking for. The green maize foliage is significant income source due to demand from livestock keepers. He also feeds his own livestock with it, making substantial savings on animal feed expenditure.

John Njiru on a demo plot whose variety he likes. Image-Joshua Masinde/CIMMYT.

How to build gender-sensitive seed systems, share your experience on Nov. 21

Posted on Eastern Africa News, Media&Stories, News, News & Stories, News release, Press room, Seed System News, Seed Systems, November 14, 2019

Young woman displaying freshly harvested high-yielding maize in Western Kenya-credit CIMMYT-Joshua Masinde

”Improved maize seed is essential for African farming systems because of its relatively higher yield potential, better adaptation to common biotic and abiotic stresses such as diseases, pests, drought and low nutrients, and more efficient use of water. However, several studies have revealed that women farmers are less likely to use improved seed than men, leading to relatively lower productivity levels. These gender gaps represent real costs not only to women farmers but to their households, rural communities, but also to seed companies and agro-dealers”, says Rahma Adam, gender specialist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Nairobi.

”This is really a seed market missed by some seed stakeholders”, Adam adds.

She will speak at a webinar ”Gender and Seed Systems” on November 21, 2019, organized by the CGIAR Research Program on Maize and hosted by the CGIAR collaborative platform for gender research.

Rahma Adam will share STMA experience in seed systems that work for women, be it seed entrepreneur, seed grower, farmer, agrodealer or other positions in this sector still dominated by men.

Other speakers are Shawn McGuire, 20 years experience on smallholder seed systems and seed security matters, working at the FAO; and Esther Njuguna-Mungai, social scientist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and involved more recently on gender-sensitive legumes seed systems.

Is there a gender gap in maize seed systems and how to address it?

With widespread support from donors, national governments and research institutions, the seed sector in Eastern and Southern Africa has rapidly evolved in ways that have greatly altered the landscape of seed delivery to smallholder farmers. As the types and volumes of improved maize seeds increase, several questions arise, for instance: How do men and women farmers learn about the performance of these new improved compared to those that they presently grow? Which approaches are most effective in reaching different demographic groups? and How can one ensure that women get opportunities to learn about and access improved maize varieties?

As the types and volumes of improved maize seeds increase, several questions arise, for instance: How do men and women farmers learn about the performance of these new improved compared to those that they presently grow? Which approaches are most effective in reaching different demographic groups? and How can one ensure that women get opportunities to learn about and access improved maize varieties?

If you want to learn more about this issue, register at the webinar here.

Rahma Adam and her colleague Pauline Muindi will also organize a day workshop under the same theme on December, 2 in Nairobi. Many participants across CGIAR, development organisations and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will attend to share their views how to address the gender gaps in seed systems. More information to come.

Delivering good and stable yields for small scale farmers: Western Seed’s growing success in Eastern and Southern Africa

Posted on Eastern Africa News, Eastern Africa News, Media&Stories, News & Stories, Seed System News, Seed Systems, November 3, 2019

“Introducing a new maize variety needs a great deal of investment. You need to build a convincing business case for varietal turnover. Some new varieties may do well for certain traits, but there are other factors other than yield to consider, for instance, producibility, cost of seed production and farmers preferences.” says Saleem Esmail, CEO of Western Seed.

Saleem Esmail at the CIMMYT-KALRO MLN Screening in Naivasha during the Annual Partners Field day in Naivasha on August 28, 2010. Photo: Joshua Masinde/CIMMYT

Western Seed and CIMMYT have a long-standing collaboration since the Africa Maize Stress project over the past twenty years. Access to improved drought and disease resistant germplasm and use of the double haploid platform in Kiboko, Kenya help the company maize breeding program. Western Seed collaborates actively in CIMMYT’s regional trials.

Joseph Kaitaand his wife Alice Kaita display large cobs of maize cobs they just harvested from their farm. They plant the WH507 drought and disease tolerant variety, which guarantees them a harvest even in times of little rainfall. Photo: Joshua Masinde/CIMMYT

Western Seed hybrids help smallholder farmers like Margaret Wafula and the Kaita family in western Kenya, get good maize harvests despite the numerous challenges like drought and diseases.

Read more about the Western Seed case study here.

Seeds of prosperity: Equator Seeds, Northern Uganda

Posted on Eastern Africa News, Eastern Africa News, Media&Stories, News & Stories, News Articles, Publications, Seed System News, Seed Systems, November 3, 2019

“80 percent of farmers in northern Uganda still use the farm-saved or recycled seed, which we consider as our biggest competitor.”

Dorine Akoth, a demo-farmer in Gulu northern Uganda, admiring a maize plant on her demo plot. Photo: Joshua Masinde/CIMMYT.

“ Through demonstrations and our local seed marketing network, farmers can see how well the drought and disease tolerant hybrid UH5051 performs, even under erratic climate. This has helped them to gradually adopt our improved seed.” says Equator Seeds CEO, Tonny Okello.

A worker at the Equator Seeds processing plant in Gulu displaying 2-kg UH5051 maize seed packs. Photo: Joshua Masinde/CIMMYT

Discover this successful partnership between STMA and Equator Seeds to reach out maize smallholder farmers in Northern Uganda and South Sudan to improve their productivity and resilience here

Scoring new drought tolerant CIMMYT lines in Kiboko 5 Sept 2019

Posted on Activities, Eastern Africa News, galleries, Media&Stories, PhotoStories, Research News, September 12, 2019

CIMMYT breeders selecting new CIMMYT line candidates in stage 4, scoring hybrid entries according to their drought tolerance in Kiboko research station – 5 September 2019

CIMMYT breeders scoring DT maize in Kiboko 5 September 2019
CIMMYT breeders scoring DT maize in Kiboko 5 September 2019
CIMMYT breeder scoring DT maize in Kiboko
CIMMYT breeder scoring DT maize in Kiboko
Suresh and Aparna ranking DT maize entries in Kiboko 5 Sept 2019
Suresh and Aparna ranking DT maize entries in Kiboko 5 Sept 2019
Cob not well covered by husk is prone to attacks Kiboko Sept 2019
Cob not well covered by husk is prone to attacks Kiboko Sept 2019
Stay green entry 52 DT maize in Kiboko
Stay green entry 52 DT maize in Kiboko 5 Sept 2019
Entry 42 DT maize cob in Kiboko
Entry 42 maize cob in Kiboko
Entry 42 during CIMMYT DT line evaluation in Kiboko Sept 2019
Checking grain filling in DT maize cob in Kiboko Sept 2019
Checking grain filling in DT maize cob in Kiboko Sept 2019
Staygreen late maturity hybrid in Kiboko Sept 2019
Staygreen late maturity hybrid in Kiboko Sept 2019
a good low N maize hybrid
Good low N maize hybrid in Kiboko
Comparison between maize that respond well to low N and commercial check
Comparison between good and bad low N maize
Shelling Low N maize cobs in Kiboko for yield measurement
Shelling low N maize cobs in Kiboko
Weighing low N maize trial
weighing low N maize trial
Close tip Maize cob in CIMMYT DT line evaluation in Kiboko
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