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Feb 13, 2010

Water Efficient Maize & Drought Tolerant Maize For Africa in Field Tests

In AllAfrica.com, Joshua Kato writes from Kampala, Uganda that Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) and the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) are currently under going field tests in the East African region. 

These two varieties are gene-engineered (GE) to withstand drought conditions in East Africa.  The drought resistance is created by merging genes from bacterium found to be resistant to drought with corn varities.  WEMA and DTMA corn varieites are being developed by the African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF) with support from CIMMYT (The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre) based in Mexico and Monsanto.

Dr. Sylvester Oikeh, project manager of the WEMA studies estimates that WEMA and DTMA will improve production of maize by between 30% and 35%.   He concludes that these varieties could "benefit 30 million to 40 million people."

The research phase for developing these new varieties has already been completed.  WEMA field tests are ongoing at Mobuku irrigation scheme in Kasese, Uganda under the National Crop Research Institute (based in Namulonge),  Additional tests are scheduled for the Buliisa and Abim districts before approval is granted for distribution to farmers.  In Kenya, DTMA is being field tested in Kiboko.

For more see Kato, Joshua. “Uganda—New Maize Type to Curb Hunger.” AllAfrica.com, 9 Feb. 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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