Spatial patterns of the changes in maize sowing date between decades: (a) changes from 1984–1993 to 1994–2003, (b) changes from 1994–2003 to 2004–2013.
A recent paper by Dr Wei Xiong of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and the Walker Institute’s Dr Elena Tarnavsky, has been selected as Editor’s Choice by the journal Atmosphere.
The paper – 'Better agronomic management increases climate resilience of maize to drought in Tanzania' – demonstrates the modelled effects of 18 different management strategies on the food security of 20,000 smallholder maize farmers in Tanzania. The research shows that better management strategies, especially combining long-maturity, drought-resistant crop varieties with high fertiliser input, could increase national maize production by as much as five times, potentially making Tanzania a regional breadbasket.
The paper notes that, in sub-Saharan Africa, per-capita food production has remained stagnant or declined for over 40 years; the only region in the world where this is the case. It also notes the importance of smallholder farmers, with two-thirds of people in sub-Saharan Africa depending on small-scale farms for their food. As such, the modelled increases in productivity and yield security that result from these management approaches, if realised, would be vitally important to the region.
The full paper is available on Atmosphere’s website by clicking here.