Project Contact


Sylvester Oikeh

Project Manager


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports the TELA, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa, QBS, the Hybrid Rice: Breeding by Design projects and has contributed to integrating IT into CAMAP. The Foundation previously supported the WEMA project and also provided core funding for organizational operational support.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), one of the original funders of AATF, supports the Nitrogen-Use Efficient, Water-Use Efficient, Salt-Tolerant Rice Project; Pod-Borer Resistant Cowpea Project; and the Water Efficient Maize for Africa project. USAID supports the MLN Diagnostics and Management Project through CIMMYT. USAID also supported the Striga Control in Maize project as part of the US government’s Feed the Future initiative.

Vision of Success/ Goal

Avail to smallholder farmers compelling transgenic maize that combines drought tolerance, insect resistance, and other important yield and disease-resistance traits.

Establish transgenic seed systems to serve as useful models for Africa


To commercialise transgenic drought-tolerant and insect-protected (TELA) maize varieties to enhance food security in Sub-Saharan Africa

More About the Project

TELA maize provides better drought tolerance, protection against stem borers, and partial but significant protection against FAW. As a result, farmers will spend less money on insecticides and reduce their exposure to these chemicals. They will also enjoy higher profits due to improved yields and better grain quality.

Seed companies can receive license rights to produce and commercialize the new TELA® hybrids under their private brand. Licensed seed companies will access the technology royalty-free for them to produce and sell the seed brand to farmers at prevailing market prices. Better yield performance, combined with improved seed quality, will deliver more value to farmers and create more demand and potential for the seed brand.

The new transgenic hybrids will be made available to
farmers by seed companies in Africa through a royalty-free license from AATF

Farmers are already growing TELA maize in South Africa. Other countries are in different stages of the approval process, which will determine when farmers can access the improved TELA seeds.

Key Numbers

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Number of TELA varieties released to date

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permits approvals secured to facilitate testing and environmental release of transgenic products

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yield advantage of TELA varieties during trials relative to non-transgenic varieties due to insect protection

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Number of households to benefit from 113 tons of TELA maize in South Africa


Information and Resources

Summary Highlights of the TELA Product Launch Collaboration Agreement

This summary is intended to provide transparency in understandable general terms for some of the key aspects of interest and importance to the public regarding the TELA Maize Product Launch

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TELA Maize Project: General FAQs
The TELA Maize Project is a public-private partnership that is working towards initiating commercialization of transgenic drough-tolerant and insect-protected maize varieties to enahnce food security in sub-saharan Africa. The word “TELA” is derived from Latin word TUTELA which means “Protection”. The TELA Maize Project builds on prgress made from a decade of excellent breeding work under the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Project

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TELA Maize Technology: FAQs for seed companies
TELA Maize is the brand name for genetically modified (GM) maize hybrids developed by the TELA Maize Project. The hybrids have Bt genes that provide protection against stem borer and helps the maize plant tolerate moderate drought. The two genes have been integrated to new maize hybrids which have been bred conventionally for drought tolerance and improved yield.


TELA Product Launch Collaboration Agreement (PLCA) Summary.
The Product Launch COllaboration Agreement (PLCA) was made on February 15, 2019 between AATF, Centro Internacional de Mejorameinto de Maiz y Trigo (CIMMYT) and Monsanto Company

Performance and yield stability of maize hybrids in stress-prone environments in eastern Africa☆
Wender Santos Rezendea, Yoseph Beyeneb,⁎, Stephen Mugob, Eric Ndouc, Manje Gowdab, Julius Pyton Sserumagad, Godfrey Asead, Ismail Ngolindae, McDonald Jumbob, Sylvester O. Oikehf, Michael Olsenb, Aluízio Boréma, Cosme Damião Cruza, Boddupalli M. Prasannab aFederal University of Viçosa (UFV), P. O.

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On-farm Performance and Farmers’ Perceptions of DroughtTEGO-Climate-Smart Maize Hybrids in Kenya
Caleb Omwibali Obunyali,* James Karanja, Sylvester Ojo Oikeh, Gospel Oluoch Omanya†, Stephen Mugo, Yoseph Beyene, and Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o

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Muinga G1* Marechera G1, Macharia I2, Mugo S3,
RotichR1, Oniang’o RK4, Obunyali CO1 and SO Oikeh1

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Impact of DroughtTEGO® hybrid maize variety on agricultural productivity and poverty alleviation in Kenya
George Marechera1, Ibrahim Macharia2*, Grace Muinga1, Stephen Mugo3, Ruth Rotich1, Ruth
Khasaya Oniang’o4, James Karanja5, Caleb Obunyali1 and Sylvester O. Oikeh

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Duration analysis of DroughtTEGO® hybrid maize adoption in Kenya
*George Marechera1, Ibrahim Macharia2, Grace Muinga1, Stephen Mugo3, Ruth Rotich1, Ruth
Khasaya Oniang’o4, James Karanja5, Caleb Obunyali1, Sylvester O. Oikeh1

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Impact of DroughtTEGO® hybrid maize variety on agricultural productivity and poverty alleviation in Kenya
Marechera, G., Macharia, I., Muinga, G., Mugo, S., Rotich, R., Oniang’o, R.K., Karanja, J., Obunyali, C., Oikeh, S.O. Impact of DroughtTEGO® hybrid maize variety on agricultural productivity and poverty alleviation in Kenya. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 14 (34) 1833–1844, 2019

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