Message from the Program Manager
2013 witnessed the strengthening of many new and existing partner collaborations. I will name but a few. Building on the rapid response of MAIZE and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) in 2012 to the outbreak of the deadly maize lethal necrotic virus (MLN) in eastern Africa, this partnership both expanded and intensified in 2013. In addition to CIMMYT and KARI working hand-in-hand to combat this menace, the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and the Federal University of Technology-Nigeria (FUT-Nigeria) joined the fight against MLN. One major milestone in this fight against MLN was the establishment of a centralized MLN screening facility at Naivasha, Kenya.
In collaboration with the University of Hohenheim, the expansion of doubled haploid (DH) breeding technology to Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) culminated in the opening of a maize DH facility at Kiboko, Kenya – the first DH breeding facility in Africa for the benefit of both national agricultural research systems (NARS) and small- to medium-sized seed companies.
Funded through a MAIZE competitive grant, collaboration between the MAIZE and Livestock and Fish CRPs continued to flourish in the area of dual-purpose maize. This work builds on promising bilaterally funded collaborative work between the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and CIMMYT since mid-2000. Maize production is rapidly increasing in India, largely due to the growing poultry industry, and is replacing crops such as rice, sorghum, legumes and wheat in some areas. Dual-purpose maize is needed to meet both the poultry industry demand for grain and the demand for good quality stover to feed cattle.
Our work on the assessment of drivers of change and systems modeling for better targeting of project interventions further expanded with the farming systems Ecology Group of Wageningen University.
In the area of sustainable intensification of maize-based farming systems, 2013 was another exciting year for MAIZE.
Over 1.1 million farmers benefited directly from CIMMYT and IITA research outputs generated through our work on sustainable intensification of maize-based systems. In Mexico, the expansion of the “Take It To The Farmer” component of the MasAgro project reached over 200,000 farmers directly and increased the profitability of Mexico’s maize-based farming systems by US $105 million. In Africa, expansion of the integrated control of Striga (witch weed) across areas in East and West Africa reached a total of 65,000 farmers, enhancing productivity and food security.
In the area of stress-resilient and nutritious maize, as many as 3 million farmers benefited from a total of 63 new maize varieties released in partnership with commercial seed companies across target countries in SSA, South Asia and Latin America. Some of the countries benefiting from the multiple release of new maize varieties, include: Bolivia, Colombia, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mexico, Uganda and Zambia. In Africa alone, over 17,000 tons of new drought-tolerant maize seed was produced in 13 African countries (Angola, Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) by a network involving more than 100 small- and medium-scale seed producers and companies.
In the area of integrated post-harvest management, the use of hermetic, low-cost grain storage in metal silos continues to expand across eastern and southern Africa. A total of 247 metal silos were sold to farmers, schools and colleges in one of the five piloting districts alone. These grain silos are having a large impact on the welfare and food security of farm households. In Kenya, savings of US $135 annually are realized per household through reduced grain loss, less insecticide use and by selling surplus maize at higher prices five months after the harvest glut.
The number of MAIZE projects with gender integration increased from four in 2012 to 10 in 2013, reflecting the priority to integrate gender in all areas of MAIZE research and CRP functions. For example, MAIZE initiated exciting work to reduce drudgery, increase productivity and women’s empowerment through small-scale mechanization for sustainable intensification in SSA, aligned with similar efforts in South Asia. In 2013, we witnessed completion of the MAIZE Gender Audit and major progress on gender mainstreaming. MAIZE also co-initiated the conceptualization and design of the global, comparative, qualitative study on gender norms and agency in relation to agricultural and natural resource management innovation – a joint cross-CRP study under the CGIAR Gender and Agricultural Research Network. Resources were committed in 2013 to undertake a minimum of 10 case studies, with a similar amount provisionally allocated for 2014.