Drought-tolerant maize shows promise in Tanzania

Tanzania’s first-ever genetically modified crop — a field trial of drought-tolerant maize intended to benefit small-scale farmers suffering the effects of climate change — is proceeding well and will be harvested imminently, according to scientists overseeing the trial for the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project.

Dr. Alois Kullaya, technical advisor to the WEMA project in Tanzania, told the Alliance for Science during a recent field visit to the confined field trial (CFT) site near the capital, Dodoma, that he was confident the added drought gene will perform as intended. However, he cautioned that a definitive conclusion will need to await scientific data produced by the trial.

“From the general appearance, we think the genetically modified drought-tolerant hybrids are going to do better than the non-genetically modified,” Kullaya said. “We can say for sure when we have harvested and the results are out. But it looks very convincing.”

WEMA researchers will measure the size and weight of maize cobs and kernels, and expect the overall yield to be higher from plants with the drought-tolerant gene than those without the added trait.

Dr. Alois Kullaya, technical advisor to the WEMA project in Tanzania, told the Alliance for Science during a recent field visit to the confined field trial (CFT) site near the capital, Dodoma, that he was confident the added drought gene will perform as intended. However, he cautioned that a definitive conclusion will need to await scientific data produced by the trial. “From the general appearance, we think the genetically modified drought-tolerant hybrids are going to do better than the non-genetically modified,” Kullaya said. “We can say for sure when we have harvested and the results are out. But it looks very convincing.”  WEMA researchers will measure the size and weight of maize cobs and kernels, and expect the overall yield to be higher from plants with the drought-tolerant gene than those without the added trait.

 

See full article here –

http://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/drought-tolerant-maize-shows-promise-tanzania

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