Seed Systems

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  • Production field of 'Lubango' a drought tolerant maize variety in Tanzania produced by IFFA Seed Company Limited
  • A 'sea of maize' filled with HB513 a drought tolerant and nitrogen-use efficient maize variety produced by Meru Agro Consultant Company in Tanzania

One of the key outcomes of STMA is to increase seed availability and farmer uptake of stress tolerant maize varieties in the target countries. At the end of 2020, the project estimates a production and distribution of more than 54 metric tons of certified seed with support of 60 national seed companies in the 12 countries. An estimated US $100 million of additional funding is required in the next 10 years to scale up multiple stress-tolerant maize and continue developing new varieties that incorporate tolerance to multiple stress factors. Increased investment in research by the national governments is key for sustainable productivity growth in the long run.

The project will work to develop and release varieties with reduced costs as an additional driver for seed companies to increase uptake of STM as an incentive to replace older products with the newer varieties that have a significant performance advantage. The project will at the same time support seed companies establish a sustainable foundation seed supply system.

Even though some countries in SSA region are showing significant signs of productivity gains, slow varietal turnover and low use of modern varieties contribute to the current low adoption of improved maize varieties – only 57 percent of all maize area in sub-Saharan Africa is planted to modern varieties.

STMA will prioritize facilitation of varietal replacement of the obsolete varieties with the new improved stress tolerant varieties to change the current low use of modern varieties and other inputs by smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently nearly half of total maize area in sub-Saharan Africa is covered by varieties that are 15 years or older. The project is specifically targeting replacing obsolete varieties in Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.


News Updates

Seed System 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 reach farmers on time to plant and produce maize during the COVID-19 crisis in different countries in SSA. You will also get to read about farmers getting an opportunity ...

  • 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., Sitonik, C., & Suresh, L. M. (2019). Maize lethal necrosis and the molecular basis of variability in concentrations of the causal viruses in co-infected maize plant. Journal of General and ...

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

    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 ...

  • 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 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 ...

  • 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 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, ...

  • 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. Photo : CIMMYT/Bossuet We met some farmers who adopted drought tolerant maize hybrid SAWA from Dryland Seeds Ltd (DSL) in drought-prone Makueni county. Dolly Muatha is a 49 years-old demo farmer ...

  • 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 her husband died, Sequare has been for many years the only bread winner for her family. Her children have grown up and established their own families. The whole extended family makes a living ...

  • 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 the single mother of three, who lives in Katheini location with her mother on a quarter an acre of land. Together with 350 other smallholder farmers from Katheini and neighboring villages of ...

  • Drought-tolerant hybrid seed offers farmers reprieve from hunger

    MACHAKOS, Kenya (CIMMYT) – The scorching heat from the sun does not stop Mary Munini, a middle-aged smallholder farmer in Vyulya, Machakos County, from inspecting her distressed maize crop. Traces of worry cloud her face. “I will not harvest anything this season,” she says, visibly downcast. Like many other smallholder farmers spread across the water-stressed counties of Machakos, Makueni and Kitui, in Kenya’s lower eastern region, Munini is staring at a massive crop loss. Prolonged dry spells have for years threatened the food security and livelihoods of many rural ...

  • New study on maize seed systems in sub-Saharan Africa

    The Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) team initiated a study on maize seed systems in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in March 2016. A 91 out of 95 seed companies known to market maize seed in 14 countries in eastern Africa, southern Africa and West Africa took part in the survey. Read More. Seed Company Participation in Survey Article on the published journal

  • Scientists harness efforts to increase use of stress tolerant maize by smallholder farmers

    More than 100 research partners and funders will meet in Kampala, Uganda from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, 2017 to discuss ways to encourage Africa’s seed sector to replace old maize varieties with new, robust and more resilient varieties and help smallholders realize yield potential amid climate change challenges. Read More

  • Partners invited to apply for allocation of second set of new CIMMYT pre-commercial hybrids

    The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is offering a second set of new improved maize hybrids to partners in eastern Africa and similar agroecological zones, to scale up production for farmers in these areas. View the full announcement here

  • Maize varieties dominating sub-Saharan Africa seed market

    The data was derived from adoption monitoring household surveys carried out in 13 countries across SSA under the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project conducted in the main crop season of 2013 (except Mozambique, which was done in 2014). The survey involved between 400 to 900 farm households, representing 130 districts, 740 villages and 7,670 households depending on the area of maize cultivation in the country. Names of cultivars and the proportions of plots of each variety mentioned by each ...

  • Partners invited to apply for allocation of new CIMMYT pre-commercial hybrids

    The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is offering a new set of improved maize hybrids to partners in southern Africa and similar agroecological zones, to scale up production for farmers in these areas. Read More

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