Crop Biotech Update

AATF Receives Feed the Future Funding to Improve Maize Production in East Africa

February 5, 2014

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) has launched a partnership with Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, through a programme funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The grant signed on 3 February 2014 will ensure that AATF and its partners will scale commercialization of StrigAwayTM–a herbicide resistant seed and treatment technology aimed at improving productivity of maize, one of the most important food crops in East Africa.

"This partnership is really about increasing the food security of thousands of smallholder farmers in East Africa. Farmers who have access to this technology will have better maize yields and higher earnings from the sale of excess produce," said Denis T. Kyetere, Executive Director of AATF.

StrigAwayTM combats Striga, a parasitic plant that affects agricultural productivity of approximately 1.4 million hectares in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Commonly known as witchweed, this parasitic plant can cause a 20 to 80 percent crop loss in maize, leading many farmers to abandon fields with heavy Striga infestation. StrigAwayTM, which includes conventionally bred herbicide resistant maize varieties and a herbicide seed coating, was developed by BASF and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

"Large problems can't be solved alone, which is why this is Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation's largest grant to date, totaling more than US $3 million. It involves multiple partners including an international NGO, a multi-national corporation, a research institute, and local private sector companies," said Brenna McKay, Partnering for Innovation Grants Program Director.

For more information contact Nancy Muchiri,AATF Partnerships and Communications Manager at n.muchiri@aatf-africa.org.