Increasing uptake and use of proven high-yielding climate-smart maize technologies by smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa.
TELA MAIZE PROJECT
Protecting maize against drought and insect damage
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Maize is the most widely grown food crop in Africa with more than 300 million people depending on it as their main food source. Its production is however severely affected by drought and insect-pests, which negatively impact yields leading to crop failure, hunger and poverty. Identifying ways to mitigate drought risk, stabilize yields, and encourage small-scale farmers to adopt best management practices is fundamental to realizing food security and improved livelihoods for the continent.
Through the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development, AATF is leading the TELA Maize Project, a public-private partnership that is addressing the problem of drought in maize and destructive insects specifically stemborers and fall armyworm. Stemborers reduce maize production in several countries in Africa; and in Kenya alone, this loss averages 13% or 400,000 tonnes per year equivalent to USD 90 million. Similarly, projections estimate that the Fall Armyworm could destroy up to 20 million metric tons of maize in Africa each year, enough to feed 100 million people. The TELA Project is working towards commercialisation of transgenic drought-tolerant and insect-protected maize varieties to enhance food security in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The word ‘TELA’ is derived from the Latin word TUTELA which means ‘Protection’.The TELA Maize Project builds on progress made from a decade of excellent breeding work under the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Project. The TELA Maize Project is currently implemented in 7 countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
TAAT Policy Enabler
Increase maize productivity in Africa whilst creating employment opportunities for women and youth.
“We will be judged by the Commitment and Actions we take today to enable farmers access seeds and markets for improved livelihoods” – Dr. Martin Fregene – AfDB Agriculture Director
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
The supply chain in manufacturing and distribution of the new breed opens up new business opportunities for seed companies and distributors across the sub-Saharan region.
Given the breed’s enhanced resilience, adoption of Tela Maize will increase food production and thereby enhance the continent’s food security.
FIELD & IMPACT STORIES
Trials for GM maize edging closer
Adoption Of BT Technology Key To Food Security
GM crops found to reduce suicides
How Agricultural biotech can contribute to food security
It’s Not Witchcraft – It Is the TELA Maize Seed
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INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
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.
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