MAIZE CRP Newsletter Vol. 2, July 2014. If you are being forwarded this newsletter, you are invited to Subscribe.
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Newsletter Vol. 2 

July 2014

CGIAR Research Program on 


In this second issue of the MAIZE CRP Newsletter, we focus on the work done by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on Striga. Also known as  ‘violet vampire’ for the beautiful violet flowers it produces, this weed is deadly; as a root parasite, it literally sucks the life out of the crop on which it germinates. In doing so, the crop's growth is stunted and yields are greatly reduced.
We invite you to meet some of the great minds who attended the Borlaug Summit organized by CIMMYT last March, and are happy to share a perspective from our partner, the Royal Tropical Institute, about the Gender Audit of MAIZE activities which took place in 2013.

Out now:


Who are MAIZE CRP partners? What is MAIZE’s gender approach? And how is MAIZE planning to reduce post-harvest losses? Long and interesting answers await, but now it is also possible to learn more about MAIZE CRP functioning in one glance.

Infographics simplify information in a visually engaging way and can help people understand complex issues and retain facts. In a new set of infographics, the MAIZE CRP team has tried to present the work of the CRP in 2014 as clearly as possible, including its underlying strategy for food security and facts about maize in the regions where we work.
The infographic can be viewed here. Thank you for your feedback and comments! 

Challenging Our Built-In Gender Bias

In order to understand gender-based dimensions and differences in MAIZE and to leverage this knowledge so that interventions can better address gender-specific needs, MAIZE undertook a gender audit of its activities in 2013. Reflecting on this stock-taking activity, gender advisors Katrine Danielsen and Franz Wong of the Royal Tropical Institute reflect on the gender realities and assumptions found in MAIZE projects. Read more

More from our Partners:

The Association for strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) finds that training to ensure the inclusive and participatory engagement of women, men and youth from various socio-economic backgrounds was a key driver of technology adoption in the Sustainable Intensification of Maize-legume Cropping Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa (SIMLESA) project. Read more

International Crop Research Benefits Sub-Saharan Africa

In Nigeria, farmers say that improved varieties are addressing constraints such as the parasitic weed Striga, drought, poor soil fertility and pests and diseases that limit productivity, reduce yield and make farming unattractive. The Integrated Striga Management in Africa (ISMA) project, launched in 2011, is capitalizing on existing technologies developed by IITA and CIMMYT and other partners to increase the productivity of maize with particular focus on addressing StrigaRead more

Shamba Shape Up on Striga

Shamba Shape Up is a popular farming TV program aired twice weekly in both English and Swahili to over 10 million viewers across eastern Africa. The program covers a wide range of topics from rainwater harvesting to certified seeds… and anything in between! On 14 April, the Shamba Shape Up team, along with a host of experts, visited famers Robert and Grace on their shamba (Swahili for “farm”) in Siaya County. Their field is plagued with Striga… Read more

Striga – Frequently Asked Questions 

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), partner to both CIMMYT and IITA, has been working on Striga control in maize projects for many years.  It has also developed a fact sheet with useful information about Striga. Read more

Research Highlights:

Event – 12th Asian Maize Conference

The 12th Asian Maize Conference and Expert Consultation on “Maize for Food, Feed, Nutrition and Environmental Security” is taking place in Thailand in October. Key Asian MAIZE partners will participate, discussing the current status, future opportunities and challenges for enhancing food, feed, nutrition and environmental security in Asia.

Full details, tentative program and registration forms are available in the Second Circular. Further announcements can be found at or by subscribing to our mailing list. 

In the Press

A Green Revolution, this time for Africa

Tina Rosenberg, New York Times

The New York Times highlights the work of the Drought-Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project, run by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
Read more

From Agribusiness to Subsistence: High-tech Tools Now Available to All

By Caspar van Vark, The Guardian

Devised for industrialized farms, precision agriculture now has the potential to increase the yields of smallholder farmers. In this article, the Guardian focuses on available technology such as the GreenSeeker, used by the MasAgro project in Mexico, but also on precision agriculture that does not depend on technology such as the work done by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
Read more

The Hunt for Maize to Resist a Fatal East African Virus

By Jon Spaull and Gilbert Nakweya, SciDev

In this video, Kenyan farmers David Wainaina Koigi and Francis Koigi Kanyara discuss their maize losses due to the deadly virus maize lethal necrosis (MLN), which devastated maize yields in parts of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in 2011. Maize pathologist George Mahuku also talks about his work at the CIMMYT-KARI* screening facility in Naivasha, Kenya, on MLN-resistant hybrid varieties of maize.
Read more

*Kenya Agricultural Research Institute

13 Inspiring Stories of Women’s Empowerment

Policies that address gender inequalities could lift 150 million people out of hunger. How can women be empowered to make this estimation a reality?
Nutrient Expert® technology developed with funding from MAIZE is featured in "13 Empowering Stories of Women in Family Farming." The technology helps smallholder farmers improve efficiency by providing localized fertilizer recommendations. Read more

MAIZE at Borlaug Summit

In March, MAIZE representatives attended the Borlaug 100 organized by CIMMYT in Obregón, Mexico, ‘to establish an exchange between research and extension leveraging technology’ on the occasion of Dr. Norman Borlaug's 100th birthday. The conference was an important meeting of minds to discuss the way forward for agricultural development, as is clear from some of the perspectives we share below.

A Digital “Green” Platform

Digital Green’s idea to film and screen 'best practice' videos of farming techniques across villages in India has won over both farmers and the government. To date, the non-profit international development organization has produced over 2,800 videos in more than 20 languages, reached 3,000 villages and over 330,000 farmers. MAIZE interviewed Digital Green’s young CEO, Rikin Ghandi, at the Borlaug 100, who reaffirmed the company's mission. 
Read more

Turbo-Charging the Breeding Process

Presenting on the theme of “Genomic Selection and Precision Phenotyping” Jesse Poland, assistant professor at Kansas State University, called for novel approaches to selection. However, in order to realize the revolutionary potential of these techniques, the disciplines of genetics, physiology, engineering and bioinformatics must combine to ensure that the "engine fires on all cylinders."
Read more
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Newsletter contacts: Genevieve Renard, Communications Specialist; Sam Storr, Communications Consultant