The Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) team held its first project review and planning meeting from 3-7 September in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. During the first three days, staff from CIMMYT and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), together with the project’s advisory board and representatives from the donor, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, documented work completed during the first 9 months of the project. The reports covered everything from breeding trials to molecular techniques, seed systems, and livelihoods surveys.
Maize is arguably sub-Saharan Africa’s most important food crop. Erratic and unpredictable rains in many maize-growing regions of Africa have resulted in major crop failures. The DTMA project is working to improve the performance of maize in low-rainfall seasons, giving resource-poor maize farmers a better chance during times of drought.
National project partners joined for the last two days of the meeting to discuss their accomplishments and help set future priorities. In total nearly 60 researchers from Africa and Mexico participated in the meeting. One thing that was clear was the close cooperation and coordination between the CIMMYT and IITA maize programs. In fact Paula Bramel, Deputy DG, Research for Development (shown in photo, left), thanked CIMMYT for inviting IITA to be a project partner and praised how well the partnership was working.
David Bergvinson, from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, called the DTMA a flagship project for the new agricultural development initiative of the Foundation.