Subsistence and small-scale farmers in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province will soon benefit from a research initiative by the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform which has joined the African Research Council to develop a maize seed which is drought-tolerant and insect-resistant.
The new seed holds much promise for farmers amidst the ongoing drought which has gripped large parts of southern Africa.
"I was used to my own indigenous seed but it would not give me what I envisaged, because it was easily affected by insects, but this one has been immune to the problem I had and I am hopeful come harvesting time I will be happy," said one farmer.
Successful crops from the seed have been harvested in other African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique.
"The farmer who understands drought situations must also have drought-resistant seed, that is (dependent on) information (on what is) required," says the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform in Eastern Cape Province, Mlibo Qhoboshiyane.
"(Information on) how much water content, the quality of that water, the kind of weather and so on. If all those apparatus are well co-ordinated we may have an emerging farmer who is fully knowledgeable all round."
The new seed will be distributed further if the pilot projects being implemented provae successful.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK