Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Agronomic Performance and Genotype × Environment Interaction of Herbicide-Resistant Maize Varieties in Eastern Africa

Posted by gabrielamartinez on , in Journal Articles

56867Authors: Makumbi, D.; Diallo, A.; Kanampiu, F.; Mugo, S.; Karaya H.

Published in:  Crop Science, 55: 540–555, 2015.


Striga hermonthica (Del.) Benth. and Striga asiatica (L.) Kuntze severely affect maize (Zea mays L.) production in sub-Saharan Africa. A single Striga plant produces a large number of seeds that form a bank of viable but dormant seed in the soil until they get a chemical signal from suitable maize host roots.

Imidazolinone-resistant (IR) open-pollinated maize varieties (OP Vs) developed for Striga control were tested in diverse environments in four countries of eastern Africa in 2004. The objective of the study was to assess the agronomic performance of IR maize and genotype  environment interactions (GE) for grain yield (GY) and the number of emerged Striga plants across 17 environments under Strigainfested and Striga-free conditions. In the combined analysis of variance across Striga-infested and Striga-free locations, mean squares for genotypes and GE were significant for most measured traits.

The best IR maize variety (STR-VE-216) outyielded the Striga-tolerant and commercial genotypes by 113 and 89%, respectively, under Striga-infested conditions. IR OP Vs supported significantly fewer emerged Striga plants relative to the check varieties.

Under Striga-free conditions, IR OP Vs showed GY advantage over commercial varieties. Under Striga-infested conditions genotypic variance ( 2 G ) was larger than genotype  location variance ( ´ 2 G L ) for GY and number of emerged Striga plants at 12 wk after planting. The genetic correlations among locations under Striga-infested conditions were high (0.990), suggesting little GE between most environments used. Cluster analysis of genotypes under Striga-infested locations revealed two major groups that separated the IR OP Vs from the check varieties. The outstanding performance of selected IR OP Vs indicates that their use for Striga control would reduce the Striga seed bank while benefiting farmers with high GY.

Managing vulnerability to drought and enhancing livelihood resilience in sub-Saharan Africa: Technological, institutional and policy options

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Weather and Climate Extremes 3 : 67-79, 2014

Shiferaw, B.Kindie Tesfaye FantayeBerresaw Menale KassieAbate, T.Prasanna, B.M.Menkir, A. 

Agriculture and the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are highly sensitive to climatic variability. Drought, in particular, represents one of the most important natural factors contributing to malnutrition and famine in many parts of the region. The overall impact of drought on a given country/region and its ability to recover from the resulting social, economic and environmental impacts depends on several factors. The economic, social and environmental impacts of drought are huge in SSA and the national costs and losses incurred threaten to undermine the wider economic and development gains made in the last few decades in the region. There is an urgent need to reduce the vulnerability of countries to climate variability and to the threats posed by climate change. This paper attempts to highlight the challenges of drought in SSA and reviews the current drought risk management strategies, especially the promising technological and policy options for managing drought risks to protect livelihoods and reduce vulnerability. The review suggests the possibilities of several ex ante and ex post drought management strategies in SSA although their effectiveness depends on agro-climatic and socio-economic conditions. Existing technological, policy and institutional risk management measures need to be strengthened and integrated to manage drought ex ante and to minimize the ex post negative effects for vulnerable households and regions. A proactive approach that combines promising technological, institutional and policy solutions to manage the risks within vulnerable communities implemented by institutions operating at different levels (community, sub-national, and national) is considered to be the way forward for managing drought and climate variability.

Evaluating the impact of improved maize varieties on food security in Rural Tanzania: Evidence from a continuous treatment approach

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Food Security, 2014

Berresaw Menale Kassie; Jaleta, M.; Mattei, A.

This paper investigates impact heterogeneity in the adoption of improved maize varieties using data from rural Tanzania. We used a generalized propensity-score matching methodology, complemented with a parametric econometric method to check the robustness of results. We found a consistent result across models, indicating that adoption increased food security, and that the impact of adoption varied with the level of adoption. On average, an increase of one acre in the area allocated to improved maize varieties reduced the probabilities of chronic and transitory food insecurity from between 0.7 and 1.2 % and between 1.1 and 1.7 %, respectively. Policies that increase maize productivity and ease farmers’ adoption constraints can ensure the allocation of more land to improved technologies and, in doing so, enhance the food security of households.

Can agricultural input subsidies reduce the gender gap in modern maize adoption? Evidence from Malawi

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Food Policy 45 : 101-111, 2014

Fisher, M.; Kandiwa, V.

Nationally representative data for Malawi were used to measure the gender gap in adoption of modern maize and to investigate how, if at all, Malawi’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) has impacted the gap. Regression results show the probability of adopting modern maize was 12% lower for wives in male-headed households, and 11% lower for female household heads, than for male farmers. Receipt of subsidized input coupons had no discernible effect on modern maize adoption for male farmers. Receiving a subsidy for both seed and fertilizer increased the probability of modern maize cultivation by 222% for female household heads, suggesting the FISP has likely reduced the gender gap in adoption of modern maize in Malawi.

Economic, production and poverty impacts of investing in maize tolerant to drought in Africa: An ex-ante assessment

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Journal of Development Areas 48 (1) : 199-225, 2014

 La Rovere, R.; Abdoulaye, T.; Kostandini, G.; Guo, Zhe; Mwangi, W.; MacRobert, J.; Dixon, J.

The potential impacts of investing in drought tolerant maize (DTM) in 13 countries of eastern, southern and western Africa were analyzed through an innovative economic surplus analysis framework, to identify where greatest economic returns and poverty reduction may be achieved. Assuming a potential full replacement of improved varieties with DTM varieties, by 2016 there would be economic gains of US$ 907 million over all countries under conservative yield gains, or US$ 1,535 million under optimistic yield gains. Largest gains in terms of consumer and producers surplus are in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Malawi. However, in terms of production gains and poverty reduction, the countries gaining most are Nigeria, Kenya and Malawi (in terms of production); and Zimbabwe, Malawi and Kenya (number of people out of poverty). A total of 4 million people — both producers and consumers— would have their poverty greatly reduced in all countries. To achieve these impacts, deployment strategies are discussed and various options are suggested, which depend on local context and state of the national seed sectors.

What determines gender inequality in household food security in Kenya? Application of exogenous switching treatment regression

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in World Development 56 : 153-171, 2013

Berresaw Menale Kassie; Ndiritu, S.W.; Stage, J.

This paper explores the link between the gender of a household head and food security in rural Kenya. The results show that the food security gap between male-headed households (MHHs) and female-headed households (FHHs) is explained by their differences in observable and unobservable characteristics. FHHs’ food security status would have been higher than it is now if the returns (coefficients) on their observed characteristics had been the same as the returns on the MHHs’ characteristics. Even if that had been the case, however, results indicate that FHHs would still have been less food-secure than the MHHs due to unobservable characteristics.

Household, community, and policy determinants of food insecurity in rural Malawi

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Development Southern Africa 30 (4-5) : 451-467, 2013

Fisher, M.; Lewin, P.A.

This study examines how socio-economic characteristics of households, local conditions, and public programmes are associated with the probability that a farm household in rural Malawi is food insecure. The statistical analysis uses nationally representative data for 8350 randomly-selected households interviewed during 2004/05 for the second Malawi Integrated Household Survey. Regressions are estimated separately for households in the north, centre, and south of Malawi to account for spatial heterogeneity. Results of a multilevel logit model reveal that households are less likely to be food insecure if they have larger cultivated land per capita, receive agricultural field assistance, reside in a community with an agricultural cooperative and relatively high annual rainfall, and are headed by an individual with a high school degree. Factors that positively correlate with household food insecurity are price of maize, price of fertiliser, number of household members, and distance to markets. Implications of these findings for policy are discussed.

Identifying recommendation domains for targeting dual-purpose maize-based interventions in crop-livestock systems in East Africa

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Land Use Policy 30 (1) : 834-846, 2013

An Notenbaert, Mario Herrero, Hugo De Groote, Liang You, Ernesto Gonzalez-Estrada and Michael Blummel

In the three major maize producing countries in the East African region of Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia, up to 44% of the dietary calorie requirements is provided by maize. It is also recognized that livestock are an essential asset of poor farmers in the mixed crop-livestock systems in this region. One of the major constraints to their productivity is, however, feed availability. A significant proportion of this feed is sourced from maize stover. We engaged in a multi-disciplinary research of dual-purpose maize cultivars with the purpose of contributing to smallholder food security. The specific objective of our endeavor is to better match new maize cultivars to farmers’ needs by including fodder traits in maize improvement programs in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya.

We explored a novel approach for targeting maize breeding research. Agricultural development strategies must recognize heterogeneity in bio-physical, economic, socio-cultural, institutional and environmental factors when devising interventions and investments. The research effort into maize as a food and feed resource was, therefore, carried out in a cross-section of bio-physically and socio-economically contrasting areas across the three study countries. To this effect the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre’s traditional targeting framework, maize mega-environments (MMEs), was combined with recommendation domains for dual-purpose maize using a Geographical Information System (GIS). The GIS-based approach provided a spatial framework for the structured exploration of opportunities to transfer knowledge and technologies. Results show that maize is potentially an important feed resource in areas with high feed demand. Throughout the different MMEs, a range of different incentives for dual-purpose varieties can be found. The maps with recommendation domains for dual-purpose maize will facilitate better targeting of new maize cultivars. Cultivars with good quality stover can now be preferentially promoted in areas with high demand for stover as feed, while at the same time matched to the bio-physically most suitable mega-environment. This integrated approach is widely applicable and will help increase the impacts from agricultural research.

Could farmer interest in a diversity of seed attributes explain adoption plateaus for modern maize varieties in Malawi?

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Food Policy 37 (5): 504-510, 2012

Rodney Lunduka, Monica Fisher and Sieglinde Snapp

This study uses new data from a household survey (n = 179) in Mulanje District, Malawi to examine whether the observed adoptionplateaus for modernmaizevarieties in Malawi partly reflect farmerinterest in adiversity of maizeseedattributes. Regression results for the study area indicate that specific attributes of different maizevarieties are an important influence on their use. The benefits to growing hybrid maize appear to be yield and drought tolerance. Open pollinated varieties are selected by farmers who value early maturity. Local maizevarieties are popular among farm households owing to a number of favourable processing and consumption characteristics: storability, poundability, flour-to-grain ratio, and taste. Further research using nationally representative data is needed to assess whether findings for Mulanje District can be generalized to Malawi as a whole. If future studies agree with the results herein then maize breeding research programs in Malawi should consider adiversity of traits beyond grain yield to encompass the range of production, processing, and consumption attributes that are valued by farmers.


Post-harvest losses in African maize in the face of increasing food shortage

Posted by Carelia Juarez on , in Journal Articles

Published in Food Security 4 (2): 267-277, 2012

Tadele Tefera

Maize is the most important food staple for resource-poor smallholders in Africa, providing food and income to millions. One of the key constraints to improving food and nutritional security in Africa is the poor post-harvest management that leads to between 14 % and 36 % loss of maize grains, thereby aggravating hunger. Post-harvest losses contribute to high food prices by removing part of the supply from the market. Reducing post-harvest losses in maize is an essential component in any strategy to make more food available without increasing the burden on the natural environment. Solving the post-harvest management problems in maize will require cooperation and effective linkage among the following: research, extension, agro-industry, marketing system and favorable policy environment. Biological and socio-economic causes of post-harvest losses in maize in Africa are discussed in relation to climate change and food security, and strategies to reduce the post-harvest losses are suggested.