Scientists develop heat and drought-resistant maize

Scientists develop heat and drought-resistant maize

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Zimbabwe and other drought-prone countries in Africa may have some good news as some scientists in Zimbabwe say they have developed a heat and drought-resistant maize.

The seeds developed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center is expected to help combat drought-induced food insecurity that has affected millions of people in southern Africa over the past years due to climate change and its effects.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center said the new maize varieties – which will be available for use next planting season – could play a significant role in reducing the problem of food insecurity in Zimbabwe and other parts of Africa.

‘I call them a game-changer, because farmers will be able to get some food security if they are able to adapt these varieties.

‘Food security in Africa will be partly addressed through these varieties, because in Africa, maize is life. A lot of seed companies in southern Africa, east Africa [and] north Africa have shown keen interest in adopting these hybrids because they know that they will be working in their environments,’ said Cosmos Magorokosho, a senior scientist at the center.

He added that farmers in Algeria, South Africa, Egypt, Malawi, Tanzania and Zimbabwe have shown interest in the new maize varieties.

The new varieties were developed with funding from the US Agency for International Development.

Early this year, Zimbabwe declared a national disaster after about a third of its 13 million people struggled with food shortages caused by El-nino induced drought.

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