Ghana Introduces Drought Tolerant Maize To Boost Food Security

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By Audrey Dekalu

To Aba Antobam, a subsistence Farmer, maize is her life blood. The crop is her main source of income to cater for every need of her family.

However buying improved maize seed such as hybrid varieties is a huge gamble for Aba since the rainy season could be erratic leading to unforeseen loss of income and capital.

In response to these challenges in March 2010, Ghana introduced drought-tolerant maize which were high yielding and affordable to manage food security.

The varieties were collaboratively developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Crops Research Institute and Savanna Agricultural Research Institute.

Mr Manfred Ewool, Lead Scientist and a Maize Breeder from CSIR told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that the farmers have welcomed the new varieties and have given them local names to denote their characteristics and importance.

They are CSIR-Omankwa (giver of life), CSIR Aburohemaa, (Queen mother of maize), CSIR-Abontem (extra early maize) and CSIR-Enii Pibi (father’s child).

Mr Ewool explained that it has taken an average of more than 10 years, to reach millions of Ghanaians with improved drought tolerant maize varieties.

He said events such as the severe floods and drought of 2007, coupled with unpredicted rainfall pattern and harsh weather conditions due to climate change rise in global food and fuel prices have cumulatively heightened the already existing vulnerabilities among people and communities.

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