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Crop Biotech Update

Kenyan Farmers Benefit from Customized Maize Seeds for Dryland Areas

August 3, 2012

As a way of supporting smallholder farmers to cope with drought conditions and climate change, scientists from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) developed maize seed varieties that yield well with minimum soil moisture.

The project, known as Program for Africa's Seed Systems (PASS) and implemented by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), also trains the farmers on pure seed production and processing using locally available resources within local conditions.

KDV, one of the varieties developed for the project and is also known as Kenya Dryland Variety, gave Kenyan farmers the opportunity to harvest grains despite planting them in lands that are dry and contain low amount of moisture. KDV is a non-hybridized drought tolerant maize variety which was developed, trialled and multiplied particularly within the Kenya's Eastern Province, and is being adopted by people within the same region.

Dr. George Birigwa, Senior Programme Officer of the PASS program explained that for the period that they have been trialling and developing the variety in the region, they already saw indications that KDV is fully accustomed to the dry-land climatic conditions, especially within the Eastern Kenya's ecological zone.

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