New method shows the best locations in Africa for improving maize yields

Apr 27, 2012

By using a combination of geographic information systems (GIS) and statistical analysis, researchers can determine the areas in Africa where the chances of improving the maize harvest are better or worse. LEI, part of Wageningen UR, has developed a method for finding the hot spots and cold spots for maize cultivation.

In there are huge differences between the potential and actual . This difference, known as the yield gap, is related to farmers' degree of access to the market and the amount of artificial fertilisers use. The report Mapping maize yield gaps in Africa shows how LEI researchers looked for hot spots (clusters of areas with high yield gaps) and cold spots (clusters of areas with low yield gaps).

Good market access and high use of artificial fertilizer generally results in a low yield gap and vice versa. But LEI's method shows that this is not the case everywhere. In some areas, good market access and high use of artificial fertilizer result in a high yield gap. In these areas, some other factor is limiting the maize yield. The fact that area boundaries often correspond to administrative borders would seem to indicate that political-institutional factors play a part.

LEI's method can help support specific development aid interventions. For instance, it can be used to point out areas where it would be useful to start up index-based weather insurance.

Explore further: Tulips free of stem nematodes thanks to hot water treatment

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A little nitrogen can go a long way

Sep 03, 2008

With significant increases in the price of fertilizer and grain, site-specific management - especially in variable rate nitrogen application -- can have a significant impact on yield and profitability, as reported in the ...

Simulating kernel production influences maize model accuracy

Sep 21, 2007

Recently, researchers at Iowa State University discovered a way to increase the accuracy of a popular crop model. By zeroing in on early stages leading up to kernel formation, scientists believe they can help improve yield ...

Biofuels without competing claims in Mozambique

Apr 26, 2011

It might not seem the most obvious option to generate energy using biomass in Mozambique, where agriculture barely manages to feed the population. But Wageningen UR researchers concluded the contrary: Small bioreactors can ...

Maize research reduces poverty in west and central Africa

Oct 28, 2009

An analysis of three and half decades of maize research in African farming communities finds big benefits. A multi-country study, in Agricultural Economics, reports the significant role international maize research plays ...

Recommended for you

Five business models for urban farming

18 hours ago

There is good money to be made in urban farming. Wageningen UR research into business models found five different options and showed how smart urban farmers can best choose for a combination.

Vaccines from a reactor

Mar 02, 2015

In the event of an impending global flu pandemic, vaccine production could quickly reach its limits, as flu vaccines are still largely produced in embryonated chicken eggs. Udo Reichl, Director at the Max ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.