Maize, the most important cereal in Africa, is the commodity of choice for farmers. Through the intervention of the SARD-SC project, strategies are being put in place to enhance food and nutritional security as well as income of farmers in Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Nigeria and Zambia with additional spillover to other countries through the development and delivery of improved technologies. Bridging the yield gap on- farm will involve significant agronomic input (complementary crop and natural resource management options to optimize productivity). There are several technologies generated by different partners that can contribute to enhancing levels of maize productivity. The SARD-SC project is partnering with these projects to ensure that such proven technologies are used and adopted by farmers.
Newer varieties of maize with enhanced levels of tolerance for multiple stresses, improved nutritional quality, targeted industrial uses, and reduced levels of mycotoxin contamination are in the stages of development using both conventional and molecular tools. Through the development and delivery of improved maize technologies, the goal of the project is to increase overall maize output in the target countries by 2-3 million metric tonnes by 2015. The project plans to achieve this partly by preventing biotic and abiotic stresses that may cause potential maize losses in areas where the probability and predicted impact of climate change are higher. It is expected, that the average productivity will be increased from current 2.0t/ha to over 2.5/ha by the end of the project. In its five years of implementation, the project is expected to reach a minimum of 1.5 million farm families.