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Countering drought: Journalist / policy advisor Roger Thurow visits farmers in Machakos, Kenya

May 14, 2012

countering-drought-noteThis growing season in south-central Kenya has been a good test for the new drought tolerant maize varieties being bred in Africa. This is a semi-arid area, but this year they can drop the semi. Farmers report only three short periods of rain since the February planting time.

“Without this seed, I’d have nothing. Nothing, like my neighbors,” says farmer Philip Ngolania. He sweeps his hand to direct the eye first to his maize and then toward a neighbor’s plot. Philip’s maize stalks, though looking thin and weak, have fairly uniformly produced large ears of corn. His neighbor’s maize is shriveled and dead, the stalks have toppled in their feebleness and there isn’t a cob to be found.  (See the entire writeup on the blog of the Global Agricultural Development Initiative)

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