Maize in Sub-Saharan Africa: Importance and Production Constraints
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Maize (Zea mays L.), an important food, feed, and industrial crop in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), has been researched extensively for genetic enhancement for more than a half century in the subregion. One aspect that received intensified research attention in the last three or four decades is the genetic enhancement of early and extra-early maturing germplasm for resistance or tolerance to drought, Striga, and low soil nitrogen. Improved open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) and hybrids with tolerance/resistance to the stresses and/or high levels of micronutrients such as beta carotene along with elevated levels of lysine and tryptophan are now available in SSA. A brief description of the achievements and the challenges still confronting maize breeders and geneticists is presented in this chapter.
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