Farmer Bamusi Stambuli and his wife Sagulani, from Balaka, Malawi, display their store full of maize ears, of drought tolerant variety ZM 309. Together they have 7 children and 5 grandchildren. In April 2010, Stambuli harvested nearly 1.8 tons of ZM 309 from his 0.6-hectare plot, around double his previous yields. “I will now be able to feed my family for a whole year,” he says proudly.
ZM 309 was developed specifically for Malawi’s drought-prone areas with infertile soils, based on material from CIMMYT-Mexico, CIMMYT-Zimbabwe, and Malawi’s national program, in a collaboration between CIMMYT, Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and the Chitedze Research Station, through CIMMYT’s Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project. The research was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. ZM 309 was officially launched in March 2009, and is known locally as Msunga banja, Chichewa for “that which takes care of or feeds the family.”
For more information, see CIMMYT’s 2010 e-news story “Maize farmers and seed businesses changing with the times in Malawi,” available online at: www.cimmyt.org/en/about-us/media-resources/newsletter/715….
For more about DTMA see: dtma.cimmyt.org/.
Photo credit: Anne Wangalachi/CIMMYT.