STMA in Southern Africa

  • Women farmers and government agriculture extension workers dance and sing together during a farmers field day near Songani in Zomba district, Malawi
  • A farmer carries her baby on her back in her farm in Motoko district, Zimbabwe
  • Zimbabwean smallholder farmer Appolonia Marutsvaka, of drought-prone Zaka District, Zimbabwe demonstrating planting drought-tolerant and heat stress maize seed
  • Provitamin A maize variety is helping smallholders in southern Africa fight hidden hunger
  • 'Sadza' maize meal prepared from Provitamin A maize flour
  • Children transporting maize harvest inTete province, Mozambique

Maize is the most important staple food crop in southern Africa, predominantly grown by smallholder farmers. Despite being one of the most important crops, maize yields under smallholder conditions remain low compared to yields in other regions. Drought stress and low nitrogen are two of the major causes of low yields and high season-to-season yield variability. This is in addition to other stresses and constraints like weeds, pests, diseases, low input availability, low input use and inappropriate seeds.

In southern Africa, maize is largely grown under rain-fed conditions in smallholder farming systems with limited inputs. Reliance on rainfall increases the vulnerability of maize systems to climate variability and change. Although farmers have a long record of adapting to the impacts of climate variability, current and future climate change represents a greater challenge because its impacts will probably be far beyond farmers’ previous experiences.

Limited access to certified maize seed due to lack of awareness and information, insufficient extension services dedicated to increasing farmers’ knowledge about drought and heat stress tolerant maize varieties are among common constraints to adoption of improved maize among smallholders.

STMA will focus on Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Southern 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., ...

  • 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

  • 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

  • Resilience and livelihoods improved for 3.5 million African farmers now planting stress tolerant maize varieties

    The Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project held its annual meeting May 7-9, 2019 in Lusaka, Zambia to discuss the achievements of the past year and priorities going forward. Farmer participatory evaluation of STMA hybrids compared to popular varietis STMA Project Leader Cosmos Magoroksho recalled what STMA project launched in 2016 is aiming at ...

  • Access to Stress Tolerant Maize enables Kamano Seeds in Zambia to provide varieties that buffer smallholder farmers in recurrent drought

    CIMMYT’s Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) and Drought Tolerant Maize Seed Scaling (DTMASS) projects have supported family owned seed companies to be part of sustainable long-term solutions to buffer African smallholder farmers against recurrent droughts via access to improved seeds. This is in line with CIMMYT mission strengthen local ...

  • Researchers team up with farmers to tackle maize stresses

    ETV - Communal farmers in the drought prone Gokwe Nembudziya winning war against Climate Change. Read More.

  • Gokwe villagers hail drought and stress tolerant maize varieties

    ZBC TV - Farmers from Gokwe, Zimbabwe share their experience with new stress tolerant maize varieties developed to help farmers mitigate impact of various stresses that are common in sub-Saharan Africa. Read More.

  • Researchers Work on Drought-tolerant Maize for Africa

    VOA - In Zimbabwe, researchers say they are breeding maize that is drought and heat resistant as part of efforts to fight hunger across Africa, where maize is a staple food. Read More.

  • Drought tolerant maize provides extra 9 months of food for farming families

    A new study from scientists with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) shows that drought tolerant (DT) maize varieties can provide farming families in Zimbabwe an extra 9 months of food at no additional cost. Read More.

  • New high-yielding maize aids smallholder farmers, helps hungry in drought-hit Africa

    Bigger and healthier maize is helping to counter the effects of severe drought caused by the warming effects of an El Nino weather system that has swept across southern Africa making more than 30 million people in the region dependent on food aid. Read More

  • Drought proof seeds offer farmers hope

    Deutsche Welle - Scientists in Zimbabwe have developed drought tolerant crops to combat food insecurity in drought-stricken Africa. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) says the new seed varieties could play a major role in safeguarding food security in Zimbabwe and across Africa. Listen to Audio broadcast

  • As temperatures soar, Zimbabwe's farmers test maize that can cope

    Thomson Reuters Foundation - Aplonia Marutsvaka looks triumphant as she shows off one of her three bags of gleaming white maize. She harvested the grain in the midst of a drought and sapping heat that charred many other types of crop. Read More

  • Zimbabwean scientists unveil maize seeds resistant to heat, drought

    VOA — Scientists in Zimbabwe say they have developed new heat and drought tolerant varieties of maize that may be ready for sale ahead of the next planting season. Read More

  • Drought and heat tolerant maize tackles climate change in southern Africa

    HARARE (CIMMYT) — It is estimated that maize yields in Zimbabwe and South Africa’s Limpopo Province will decrease by approximately 20-50 percent between now and 2045. This predicted decline will pose a major problem, as maize is the region’s main staple food. Read More

  • 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

  • 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

  • Biofortification to fight “hidden hunger” in Zimbabwe

    HARARE, Zimbabwe (CIMMYT) – Annually, vitamin A deficiency affects between 250,000 and 500,000 vulnerable and malnourished young people with early-life blindness worldwide. Half of these people die, according to the World Health Organization. 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 

  • Blindfold test shows taste bias for nutritious orange pro-vitamin A maize

    NAIROBI, Kenya (CIMMYT) – The prevalence of “hidden hunger” due to micronutrient deficiency is a big issue in sub-Saharan Africa, which has been identified as one of the most affected regions with 30 percent of the population undernourished. Read More..

STMA locations in Eastern Africa

STMA locations in Southern Africa (Map click to enlarge)

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