By Anita Mins
There is a growing need for drought-tolerant maize cultivars among smallholder farmers in developing countries, particularly in Asia where the cultivars’ development is a technical reality and outputs are achievable. Public-private partnership projects such as the Affordable, Accessible, Asian Drought-Tolerant Maize (AAA) project attempt to address smallholder farmers’ urgent and long-lasting need to access available and affordable new crop varieties that are robust, drought-tolerant and high-yielding.
Participants in the AAA project’s annual meeting on 15-16 July included 27 scientists involved in maize development from the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and representatives from CIMMYT, Vietnam’s National Maize Research Institute and the Indonesian Cereals Research Institute. The meeting reiterated the progress and outputs achieved in association mapping and trials of the drought-tolerant maize cultivars. Trial results were reviewed to select the best possible drought-tolerant hybrids for further research and seed production.
Owing to the development of a substantial product portfolio during the period of implementation, the scientists emphasized region-specific product development, product positioning and related market support. The shared goal of the scientists was to articulate business models for affordable, accessible Asian hybrids and products for commercialization.