WEMA releases new drought-tolerant maize varieties in South Africa

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The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project marked another milestone this year with the release of two conventional drought-tolerant maize hybrids in South Africa in September 2014. The approval for commercialisation was granted to the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa following their application for Variety Listing submitted in late 2013. Farmers began testing the two hybrids in demonstration plots during 2013/2014 season with positive results and feedback. Additional 20,000 demonstration plots will be planted in 2014/2015 season starting in November.

Left: Dr Sylvester Oikeh, the WEMA Project Manager at AATF, Dr Kingstone Mashingaidze, the WEMA-South Africa country coordinator and Mr Molatsi Musi, a farmer in South Africa, admire one of the new maize hybrids approved in September 2014

WEMA’s first conventional hybrid variety WE1101, also known by its brand name DroughtTEGOTM was released in Kenya in 2013 and was planted by farmers for two seasons during the 2013 short and the 2014 long rains seasons with exciting results. Six seed companies participated in deployment efforts that were complemented with 800 on-farm demos planted in Kenya and 34 field-days held in selected sites to create awareness and educate farmers on the hybrid. So far 27 DroughtTEGOTM hybrids from the project have been released in four project countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa. For more information on the WEMA Project contact Sylvester Oikeh (s.oikeh@ aatf-africa.org)

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