Many countries located in Africa grow maize due to the fact that it has high nutritional values and it can be planted almost everywhere. Unfortunately, due to frequent draughts, the maize crops often fail, leading farmers to huge losses and leaving thousands of people without the they desperately need. Water Efficient Maize for Africa project is about to change the future of crops in Africa by developing a drought resistant genetically modified maize sort that can survive in the toughest conditions imaginable.
The project plans
Hundreds of millions of people all around this continent are dependent on the maize so minimizing the losses was one of the major goals of the scientists working on this project. Funded by non-government organizations from all around the globe, Water Efficient Maize for Africa project wants to deliver their new sort of maize to all farmers who are trying to grow this crop in a challenging climate.
Even though this genetically modified maize has been tested and planted in smaller amounts all over central Africa, it arrived in Tanzania this October. A handful of farmers planted it on their fields and the aim is to reduce the cost of food by growing local crops that will be readily available to everyone living in the surrounding areas. The next step is reaching out to farmers in Mozambique to get them on board in the following months.
Water Efficient Maize for Africa project received positive feedback from numerous countries who are aware of the food problem that has been effecting Africa in the last couple of decades. Genetically modified crops might be the best way to fight the food shortage in these countries and we will see how this plan unfolds in the future.
Developing the seed
Even though scientists has been very supportive of this project from the beginning, not all countries are ready to accept the new technologies. The process of developing and modifying the drought resistant maize has been long. South Africa is a country that accepted genetically modified crops in the past so it comes as no surprise to find out they were the first country who decided to purchase large quantities of drought resistant maize.
Uganda did plenty of testing and successfully planted these crops but the laws of this country did not allow commercialization. Drought resistant maize is sold with the royalty free maize which makes it very useful, but it still wasn’t enough to convince the government to change their law regarding the genetically modified crops entering their country.
The international support
As we have previously mentioned, Water Efficient Maize for Africa project is supported by numerous non-government organizations such as Bill & Melinda Foundation and a couple of agencies from the United States. They are financing the research that will solve the food problem in Africa through developing biotechnology and they are hoping to receive a positive feedback from the African countries in the years to come.
It is important to mention that Water Efficient Maize for Africa project started in 2008 and they are still set on finding and developing various ways to genetically modify the maize seeds in order to make them stronger and more resistant to harsh African. Hopefully, their effort will be more accepted in the future.