Scientists may have just found a way to provide more nutritious and affordable food in many parts of Africa.
Zimbabwean scientists say they have created new varieties of maize seeds that can withstand severe heat and drought.
“I call them a game-changer, because farmers will be able to get some food security if they are able to adopt these varieties,” said Cosmos Magorokosho, a senior scientist with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, better known by its Spanish acronym, CIMMYT.
The center, with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, was responsible for coming up with climate-resilient maize strains.
The seeds could be ready for sale ahead of the next planting season.
Magorokosho said farmers in Algeria, South Africa, Egypt, Uganda, Malawi and Tanzania, along with Zimbabwe, have shown interest in the new maize varieties.
Early this year, Zimbabwe declared a national disaster after about a third of its 13 million people struggled with food shortages, caused by El Nino–induced drought.
“Food security in Africa will be partly addressed through these varieties,” Magorokosho said, “because in Africa, maize is life.”
A longer version of this article appears on the Voice of America website.