Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA)

Published on 4 May 2010

Research Areas

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Start Date: 1 December 2006 | End Date: 30 November 2011


The DTMA Initiative joins the efforts of people, organizations and projects supporting the development and dissemination of drought tolerant maize in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The work builds on CIMMYT’s recognized efforts to develop and perfect the science of breeding for drought tolerance in maize.

The charitable purpose of the project is to decrease hunger and increase food and income security of resource-poor farm families in sub-Saharan Africa through the development and dissemination of drought tolerant, well-adapted maize varieties.

Developing, distributing and cultivating drought tolerant maize varieties is one highly relevant intervention to reduce vulnerability, food insecurity and the damage to local markets accompanying food aid in SSA.

The project pursues nine objectives for maximizing impact from drought tolerant (DT) maize:

Objective 1: Optimized pipeline for identifying new sources of drought tolerance – Identify new DT sources and develop molecular markers for DT genes of major effect.

Objective 2: New tools and methodologies for drought tolerance breeding – Develop and invest in technology-assisted tools and improved breeding methodologies that greatly enhance the speed, cost effectiveness and precision of breeding progress for drought and complementary traits for smallholder conditions.

Objective 3: Focused and effective product development – Generate DT hybrids and open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) adapted to the main drought-affected agro-ecologies and small farmer production conditions in SSA, in particular the mid-altitude and lowland ecologies.

Objective 4: Involvement and capacity building of breeders from NARS and seed companies – Enhance the success of public national agricultural research systems (NARS; particularly those supported by the Gates Foundation through PASS) and private sector breeders for developing their own DT maize varieties with good performance and acceptance under smallholder farmers’ conditions.

Objective 5: Variety testing and release – Improve and accelerate the variety testing and release process for new DT varieties through NARS, seed companies and regulatory agencies.

Objective 6: Scale up seed production – Increase the capacity of local seed companies to disseminate DT maize varieties to a greater number of farmers in SSA.

Objective 7: Advocacy and promotion – Inform policy makers and farmer support groups about new DT varieties, and support interventions which increase smallholder farmers’ learning about and access to DT maize.

Objective 8: Impact assessment and targeting – Assess and draw lessons from past impact and project activities. Inform investors of the payoff of DT maize research and distribution strategies for greatest impact on poverty reduction of smallholder farmers in drought prone zones of Africa, and assess trends and changes in adoptions and livelihood impacts.

Objective 9: Project management and communication – Effectively implement and review project objectives with appropriate stakeholder representation, while keeping stakeholders, the public and policymakers in both south and north informed about project progress.

Research Partners


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One Response to “Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA)”

  1. Jan Beniest says:

    • Was or is there any collaboration in the area of capacity strengthening between the Lead Centre and the Partner Centre(s)?
    • If so, can you briefly describe this collaboration and highlight the drivers of success or failure of such collaboration?
    • If not, would it have been beneficial to collaborate in this area and how can/could that best be achieved?

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