Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development

Breeding an "Amaizing" Crop

Improved maize in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

Melinda Smale and T. S. Jayne

Key period: 1965–1990

Geographic region: Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe

The intervention: Sustained investments in innovative breeding programs, dedicated scientists, and supportive public policies drove the development and spread of more productive maize that translated into better livelihoods for millions of farm households. By expanding access to modern (improved) maize seeds among smallholder farmers, yields multiplied several-fold and contributed significantly to improving food production and food security in the region. While the fiscal burdens of state-led marketing and credit policies rendered the growth unsustainable, by 2000–05, maize, most of it modern maize, covered more than three-quarters of the land under cereal cultivation in the four countries.

Book Chapter:
Breeding an “Amaizing” Crop: Improved maize in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Melinda Smale and T. S. Jayne
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