By Esther Nakkazi
Agriculture experts from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) request the use of climate resilient seeds and smart innovations, including drought-tolerant seeds and soil and water conservation practices to mitigate the impact of the current drought affecting millions of farmers living in eastern and southern Africa.
Stephen Mugo, CIMMYT Africa regional representative, recommends that farmers shift to planting stress-resilient varieties, like early maturing maize varieties that just need 90 to 95 days to mature, instead of over four months for late maturing varieties.
Seeds of such early maturing varieties are available from seed companies and agro-dealers operating in maize growing areas.
“If more small farmers in Africa’s drought-prone regions grow drought-tolerant varieties of maize and other staple crops, the farming communities will be better prepared for prolonged dry spells and inadequate rainfall,” says Mugo.
Moreover, research by CIMMYT shows that conservation agriculture, combined with a package of good agronomic practices, offers several benefits that contribute to yield increases of up to 38 percent.