New drought-tolerant maize variety developed in Kenya

Maize in Kenya SuSanA Secretariat Wikimedia CommonsWE1101 resulted in an average harvest of more than double Kenya’s national average of 1.8 tonnes per hectare. (Image source: SuSanA Secretariat/Wikimedia Commons)The African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF), in collaboration with Crop Africa Seeds, has developed a drought tolerant maize variety for Kenyan farmers

The maize variety has been named WE1101. It is said to be able to cope with drought conditions and still produce yields comparable with other commercial varieties. A survey conducted by AATF indicated that the WE1101 variety resulted in an average harvest of 4.5 tonnes of maize per hectare, which is more than double the national average of 1.8 tonnes per hectare.

With changing weather patterns and global warming, drought tolerant maize varieties will bring relief for many smallholder farmers who do not have irrigation infrastructure and rely almost entirely on rain-fed agriculture.

“After a six-year development process, we are very encouraged by the results of the first WE1101 harvest. The result demonstrates the power of advanced breeding tools to help farmers in sub-Saharan Africa in areas prone to drought and facing crop volatility due to climate change,” said Dennis Kyetere, executive director of AATF.

The public-private partnership between AATF and Crop Africa Seeds is known as Water Efficient Maize for Africa.

Mwangi Mumero

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