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West And Central African Farmers Receive Hardier Varieties Of Maize Seeds

February 15, 2010: 02:42 AM EST
A Nigerian government agency has released more than 20 newly developed varieties of maize seeds to farmers in west and central Africa. Bred by university researchers to resist drought, low-nitrogen soil, pests, diseases and parasitic weeds, the new varieties were developed using conventional plant breeding techniques to emphasize naturally-available traits. African maize farmers are frequently beset by infestations of parasitic weeds such as striga hermonthica and protracted dry spells that ruin harvests and leave households with little food and income. Low soil fertility through insufficient nitrogen content can also devastate plantings, and pests such as stem borers in forested areas hurt productivity.
"New varieties to boost maize output in West & Central Africa", International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, February 15, 2010, © IITA
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