Africa is a drought-prone continent, making farming risky for millions of smallholder farmers who rely on rainfall to water their crops. Maize is the most widely grown staple crop in Africa – more than 300 million people in Africa depend on it as their main food source – but too often it is severely affected by frequent drought. Drought leads to crop failure, hunger, and poverty. Climate change will only worsen the problem.
Like drought, insects present a challenge for smallholder maize farmers in Africa, who have little or no resources to effectively manage them. During drought, maize that is able to survive becomes particularly susceptible to pests. These insects negatively impact yields, because they reduce maize plant’s ability to use the limited water and nutrients. In some cases, farmers effectively lose the whole crop.