By George Munene
Scientists from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) have developed and released 12 new maize varieties that have superior performance as well as being drought and disease-tolerant.
The varieties, CML604A to CML615A, have shown resistance to multiple stresses and are aimed at improving the maize productivity of smallholder farmers
The improved cultivars are adapted to tropical maize production environments of Eastern and Southern Africa.
Some of the variants include:
CML608B is tolerant to the deadly Maize lethal necrosis (MLN) diseases which according to CABI has become an important food security issue in Kenya causing losses of up to 100 per cent in major maize production regions. The cultivar is also resistant to foliar diseases Grey leaf spot (GLS) and Turcicum leaf blight (TLB) as well as being drought tolerant.
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The CML610A is a high yield potential variant under both stress conditions such as drought and optimum conditions. It is resistant to major diseases; Maize streak virus (MSV), GLS, and TLB. MSV was singled out by farmers as the hardest disease to control in research conducted by the UK government research publishing service.
It has low ear placement, good stalk strength as well very good husk cover. It is adapted to the mid-altitudes of Eastern and Southern Africa.
The CML611B thrives under optimal and low nitrogenous conditions as well displaying resistance to Common rust, Ear rot, TLB, and GLS. Common rust causes dark brown pustules on leaves with reported yield losses of over 50 per cent.
It is adapted especially for eastern African highlands.
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Resistant to Ear rot and with a very good grain yield, the CML606A is a line that is productive under drought stress conditions. It can be used as a female parent in single-cross hybrid production.
For further details regarding the released varieties contact B.M. Prasanna, Director of the Global Maize Program, CIMMYT: