Maize in Sub-Saharan Africa: Importance and Production Constraints



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.


  1. Abalu, G.I. 2003. The maize-based green revolution in Africa: An analysis of current initiatives. In: Maize revolution in West and Central Africa, ed. B. Badu-Apraku, M.A.B. Fakorede, M. Ouédraogo, R.J. Carsky and A. Menkir, 81–101. Proceedings of a Regional Workshop, IITA-Cotonou, 14–18 May 2001. WECAMAN/IITA.Google Scholar
  2. Badu-Apraku, B., R.O. Akinwale, J. Franco, and M. Oyekunle. 2012. Assessment of reliability of secondary traits in selecting for improved grain yield in drought and low-nitrogen environments. Crop Science 52: 2050.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Badu-Apraku, B., C.G. Yallou, K. Obeng-Antwi, H. Alidu, A.O. Talabi, B. Annor, M. Oyekunle, I.C. Akaogu, and M. Aderounmu. 2017. Yield gains in extra-early maize cultivars of threebreeding eras under multiple environments. Agronomy Journal 109: 418–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fakorede, M.A.B., B. Badu-Apraku, A.Y. Kamara, A. Menkir, and S.O. Ajala. 2003. Maizerevolution in West and Central Africa: An overview. In Maize revolution in West and Central Africa, ed. B. Badu-Apraku, M.A.B. Fakorede, M. Ouédraogo, R.J. Carsky, and A. Menkir, 3–15. Proceedings of a Regional Maize Workshop, IITA-Cotonou, 14–18 May 2001. WECAMAN/IITA.Google Scholar
  5. Fakorede, M.A.B., B. Badu-Apraku, A.F. Lum, A. Menkir, and M. Ouedraogo. 2007. A review of NARES-IARC-Donor collaboration to develop demand-driven technologies for improved maize production in West and Central Africa. In Demand-driven technologies for sustainable maize production in West and Central Africa, ed. B. Badu-Apraku, M.A.B. Fakorede, A.F. Lum, A. Menkir, and M. Ouédraogo, 3–24. Proceedings of the Fifth Biennial Regional Maize Workshop, IITA-Cotonou, 3–6 May 2005. WECAMAN/IITA.Google Scholar
  6. FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). 2009. International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. 1992. Sustainable food production in sub-Saharan Africa. IITA’s Contributions, IITA, Ibadan. P6. Verified on 3 April, 2012.
  7. M’Boob, S.S. 1989.A regional programme for Striga control in West and Central Africa. In Striga– Improved management in Africa, ed. Robson, T.O. and H.R. Broad, 190–194. Proceedings of FAO/OAU All-Africa Government Consultation on Striga Control, Maroua, Cameroon, 20–24 October 1986. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  8. MIP. 1996. Maize Improvement Program, Archival Report, 1988-1992 – Part I. Maize population improvement. Ibadan: Crop Improvement Division, IITA.Google Scholar
  9. NeSmith, D.S., and J.T. Ritchie. 1992. Effects of soil water-deficits during tassel emergence on development and yield components of maize (Zea mays L.). Field Crops Research 28: 251–256. doi: 10.1016/0378-4290 (92)90044-A.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Thorne, P.J., P.K. Thornton, R.L. Kruska, L. Reynolds, S.R. Waddington, A.S. Rutherford, and A.N. Odero. 2002. Maize as food, feed and fertilizer in intensifying crop-livestock systems in East and southern Africa: An ex ante impact assessment of technology interventions to improve smallholder welfare, ILRI Impact Assessment Series 11, 123. Nairobi: ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Institute of Tropical AgricultureIbadanNigeria
  2. 2.Obafemi Awolowo UniversityIle-IfeNigeria

Personalised recommendations