STMA in Eastern Africa

  • A farmer in Lira, Uganda with a cow purchased from WE2115 maize harvest
  • A farmer prepares a meal in her kitchen at Yubo village, Wondo Genet, Ethiopia
  • Valeria Panteleo and her daughters from Tanzania show their harvest from HB513 maize, a drought tolerant and nitrogen-use efficient variety
  • A smallholder farmer harvests BH543 maize variety in Dore Bafana district, Ethiopia
  • A nutritious maize variety MAMS H913 that is both drought tolerant and a quality protein maize variety grown in Tanzania
  • Saleem Esmail, managing director of Western Seed Company looks at an improved hybrid variety at the Kiboko research station in Kenya
  • A smallholder harvests a drought tolerant variety, KDV4 in Kenya's eastern region

STMA will cover Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, which combined cover 9 million hectares of maize, with over 100 million people depending on maize for food and income. Agriculture remains the backbone of East Africa’s economies, dominated by smallholder farmers who occupy most land and produce most of the crop products. Maize is the most important crop for millions of smallholders in the region, with Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania accounting for 86 percent of the total maize produced in East and Central Africa region. Majority of population in the region are resource poor and a third live below the poverty level of US$ 1/day. Access to inputs such as improved seed, fertilizers, mechanization, financial resources have impeded progress in maize production.

East Africa is the epicenter of the maize lethal necrosis, a disease that has devastated farmers and seed companies since it was officially reported in Kenya in 2011. Currently between 90 and 95 percent of commercial maize in the eastern Africa markets are susceptible to the disease that is known to cause up to 100 percent crop loss depending on the disease severity.

Adoption of improved varieties remains low with 57% of maize area in eastern Africa covered with varieties that are 14 years old.

Key focus of STMA in eastern Africa region include:

  • Facilitate varietal replacement of 22 obsolete varieties currently in the market
  • Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda are among priority countries that will be targeted for production of maize Doubled-Haploid lines annually anticipated to reduce substantially breeding cycle and cost for affordability.
STMA locations in Eastern Africa

STMA locations in Eastern Africa (Map click to enlarge)

Eastern Africa News
  • Latest STMA Bulletin is out

    Read the latest news from the just concluded Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) initiative. This issue highlights the impact the project has had on farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, how it has helped build resilience of Africa’s smallholder farmers and how the improved maize varieties will enable partners to ...

  • List of STMA supported publications for sub-Saharan Africa for 2019

    Amondo, E., Simtowe, F., Rahut, D.B., Erenstein, O., 2019. Productivity and production risk effects of adopting drought-tolerant maize varieties in Zambia. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management 11, 570-591. Awata, L. A. O., Ifie, B. E., Tongoona, P., Danquah, E., Jumbo, M. B., Gowda, M., Marchelo-D’ragga, P. W., ...

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

    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 ...

  • Latest STMA Bulletin is out

    Read the latest news from the Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) initiative. This issue highlights stories on how stress tolerant maize is improving the lives of smallholder farmers in northern Uganda, after a two-decade civil war; why stress tolerant maize varieties are good for Africa and how CIMMYT and ...

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

    “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 ...

  • Seeds of prosperity: Equator Seeds, Northern Uganda

    “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 ...

  • Latest STMA Bulletin is out

    Discover the latest from the Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) initiative. This issue talks about product profiling, costing of maize breeding, highlights of CIMMYT's Kenya Annual Partner Days and portraits of Kenyan farmers who have adopted stress-tolerant maize varieties.  READ HERE

  • Farmers adopting drought tolerant Maize in Makueni county, Kenya

    Swedish journalists Eric Abel and Anna Liljemalm who are writing a book on climate change and seed visited the Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa project in Kenya from Sept. 9-11, 2019. Journalists from Sweden in action to understand how maize breeding can help Kenyan farmers adapt to climate change. ...

  • STMA Bulletin April-June 2019

    Discover some of the recent maize breeding and seed systems work of the Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa initiative, covering the period April to June 2019. STMA addresses multiple stresses affecting smallholder maize farmers in Africa. Read More

  • Bill Gates talks about drought-tolerant maize developed by CIMMYT

    In 2018, Bill Gates launched a campaign about climate change, because he worried not enough people understood the dimensions of the problem. In a blog post, he reminded readers that not only the energy sector is concerned, but also “the other 75%” — in particular agriculture and food systems. We need innovations to reduce our ...

  • Ethiopian maize farmers fast adopting new drought-tolerant maize hybrid to boost their productivity and resilience.

    ‘’Getting a good maize harvest every year, even when it does not rain much, is important for my family’s welfare’’ says Sequare Regassa, a widow and mother of four, while feeding her granddaughter with white injera, a rollable flatbread, made of white grain maize. Sequare Regassa feeding her grand-daughter (credit: CIMMYT / Simret Yasabu) Since ...

  • Participatory varietal selection to decipher what maize smallholder farmers want

    Tabitha Kamau inspecting her drought-tolerant maize variety in Katheini location, Kenya - Photo credit:Joshua Masinde Tabitha Kamau, 29, is scrutinizing a maize demonstration plot on which 12 different varieties were planted in November 2018. “What I am looking for is a maize variety that produces a lot, even when there is scarce rainfall,” says ...

  • Solving the ‘’last mile’’ challenge of maize seeds

    Agrodealers play a pivotal role in delivering the gains of the green revolution to millions of smallholders in Africa, providing access to key inputs like improved maize varieties. So far, seed systems research has mainly focused on the factors influencing farmers’ adoption of new varieties, and, to a lesser extent, why seed companies will invest ...

  • NASECO’s steady success to deliver stress tolerant, high yielding maize seeds to Ugandan farmers

    The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) has been supporting Uganda-based Nalweyo Seed Company (NASECO), in collaboration with Uganda’s National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO), to develop and produce high-yielding, stress tolerant maize seed varieties, which have increased farmers’ harvests and improved their livelihoods. Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) ...

  • Food Friday: Drought tolerant crops could hold answers for unending drought

    NTV: Food Friday feature looks at why drought tolerant crop varieties could the answer to the pressing food insecurity issues facing Kenya that has been marred with reports of drought, which has caused starvation with reports of deaths of both livestock and people. Read More

  • New maize variety growing in Makueni

    Woni TV - The new KDV4 Maize variety is doing really fine in the dry areas with less rainfall. Farmers from Makueni are harvesting high even with the less rainfall experienced in the area. View Video (Vernacular Kamba language)

  • Makueni farmers adopt drought-tolerant maize seeds to boost yields

    Business Daily - Farmers in Ukambani region are adopting new maize seed varieties that are tolerant to drought, making the area that has been synonymous with hunger over the years food secure. Read More

  • Hope for semi-arid farmers as drought bites

    KNA - Ruth Malika, a small scale farmer in Makueni County has dutifully planted traditional maize varieties for years, expecting bounty harvests, but would always end up disappointed. Read More

  • Makueni farmers to receive bumper harvest from drought resistant maize strain

    KBC - Farmers in Makueni County are expecting a bumper harvest from a new variety of maize developed by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre. View Video

  • Feature: Drought tolerant maize varieties shield Kenyan smallholders from hunger pangs

    Zhinua - Joyce Matheka's one acre farm located in Makueni County in lower-eastern Kenya was a spectacle to behold on Friday thanks to a lush green foliage that announced a bumper harvest in the near future. Read more

  • Ugandan farmer boosts profits from improved maize

    An outgrower in Uganda makes good profit from drought tolerant maize that in turn boosts his mircofinance business, transforming him into a successful businessman. Read More

  • Improved maize offers new economic opportunity to Kenyan family

    NAIROBI, Kenya (CIMMYT) – Millions of women across Africa continue to drive agriculture and for one Francisca Mbula, a mother of five in her late 50s, her successful journey in farming is credited to her 30-year old eldest son Nzioka Kivanga. Read More

  • New project helps African farmers address multiple stresses in maize farming

    The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and its partners have unveiled a new project – Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) – to diminish devastating environmental effects in maize production that occur simultaneously across many regions in sub-Saharan Africa. Read More

  • Young African Scientists gain inspiration from experience maize researchers

    NAIROBI, Kenya (CIMMYT) – Twenty-nine Ph.D. and master’s level scientists from the Africa Plant Breeding Academy  from 17 countries across Africa interacted with scientists from the Global Maize Program. The focus of the interactive session was to share knowledge and progress on maize breeding work in sub-Saharan Africa. Read More

  • Educational video helps Kenya farmers learn benefits of drought-tolerant maize

    KOLA, Kenya (CIMMYT) – A new video aimed at raising awareness among farmers about high-yielding, drought-tolerant maize varieties was produced by Michigan State University. Farmers discuss the challenges of food scarcity related to poor maize seeds that wither because of moderate drought conditions prevalent in the area. Read More 

  • CIMMYT participates in the Sixth African Green Revolution Forum

    NAIROBI, Kenya (CIMMYT) — CIMMYT team led by Director General Martin Kropff joined 1700 delegates from around the globe to participate in the sixth African Green Revolution Forum held in September 5-9,2016 in Nairobi. The forum focused on increasing investment in African smallholders. Read More

  • Millions of smallholders in Africa benefit from climate resilient drought-tolerant maize

    NAIROBI, Kenya (CIMMYT) – At least 40 million smallholder farmers throughout sub-Saharan Africa are profiting from more than 200 new drought-tolerant varieties of maize produced as part of the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) Project, according to scientists at the Center for International Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT). Read More 

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