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  2. Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA)

Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA)

The Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project aims to diminish devastating constraints in maize production across sub-Saharan Africa. The project develops improved maize varieties with resistance and tolerance to drought, low soil fertility, heat, diseases such as Maize Lethal Necrosis and pests affecting maize production areas in the region.

STMA operates in eastern (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda), southern (Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe) and West Africa (Benin, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria). These countries account for nearly 72 percent of all maize area in sub-Saharan Africa and include more than 176 million people who depend on maize-based agriculture for their food security and economic well-being. Climate change effects like drought, a lack of access to resources like fertilizer and other stresses increase the risk of crop failure that negatively affects income, food security and nutrition of millions of smallholder farmers and their families.

The project will develop 70 new stress-tolerant varieties using innovative modern breeding technologies, and promote improved stress-tolerant varieties expected to increase maize productivity up to 50 percent. The project aims to produce estimated 54,000 tons of certified seed to put into the hands of more than 5.4 million smallholder farmer households by the end of 2019.


  • Use innovative breeding tools and techniques applied for increasing the rate of genetic gain in the maize breeding pipeline.
  • Increase commercialization of improved multiple-stress-tolerant maize varieties with gender-preferred traits by the sub-Saharan African seed sector.
  • Increase seed availability and farmer uptake of stress-tolerant maize varieties in target countries.
  • Optimize investment impact through effective project oversight, monitoring, evaluation and communication.