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Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA)

Innovating Rural Smallholder Farming

Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA)

Project Scope

Rural Outreach Africa (ROA) partnered with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) to promote Drought TEGO™ maize hybrids, a water efficient maize variety in the four counties of western Kenya: Kakamega, Vihiga, Busia and Bungoma. The project ran from 2011-2014 for phase one and then 2015-2018 for phase two.

Project Activities: Phase One & Two

Project activities involved setting up on-farm demonstrations on land donated by farmers, for 10 TEGO hybrids and a farmer variety, planted side-by-side. The host farmer is part of a group, and group members help in demo maintenance (planting, top-dressing, weeding) assisted by ROA field staff. Planting TEGO hybrids alongside farmers’ varieties allowed farmers to see for themselves how the TEGO hybrid does in comparison to farmer-saved seed, in both long and short rains seasons.

In 2015, ROA established 360 demos (30 demos in 12 sub-counties) for each of the growing seasons, long rains and short rains. ROA conducted 12 field days (one per sub-county) for each of the seasons, with at least 300 farmers attending each field day. Following successful promotion of TEGO, ROA increased the area of coverage in 2016 and 2017 to 17 sub-counties, and 510 demos in each cropping season, so as to reach more farmers. In 2015 and 2016, ROA held 22 field days each year, and in 2017, ROA held 24 field days in this project.

In phase one, the WEMA project reached about 6000 farmers and in phase two, 12,000 farmers. ROA’s ability to mobilize farmers and other stakeholders was important in achieving success in this project. ROA partnered with Ultravetis Seed Company during field days to ensure that farmers who were interested could purchase the seed right there.


What did we learn from the WEMA project? The variety was truly drought tolerant, and it also had good cooking attributes and made good “ugali”, the much revered local staple. The stems were strong, thus the plants would withstand strong winds when other varieties would not. To sustain the robustness of the attributes, seed multipliers have to be well selected, trained, and monitored, otherwise the drought tolerant trait gets lost quickly.

Research Partner:

Africa Agricultural Technology Foundation

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