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November 1st, 2018 / Daily News, Tanzania

TANZANIA’s second year of confined field trials of genetic modified maize is bearing fruit, as the crop has significantly shown signs of withstanding stem borer and fall armyworm attacks, compared to conventional maize varieties.

The confined field trials (CFT), which started in April 2016, are located in the semiarid area of Makutupora in Dodoma Region, to assess the potential of maize varieties to produce high yields in semi-arid conditions.

Speaking to reporters and farmers who recently visited CFT site, Senior Agricultural Research Officer, Dr Justin Ringo said that the genetic modified organism (GMO) maize that is resistant to drought and insects would benefit Tanzanian farmers, if the government reviews laws and regulations to allow the commercialisation of Biotech maize seed in the country.

“A maize test that endures average drought and stem borer was planted on the 16th and 17th of August 2018, the test consists of 16 species of maize as follows: 7 varieties are GMO maize and 7 varieties are non- GMO maize, and 2 types are maize certified in agriculture in the country.

In order to ensure that maize is attacked by pests, 20 stem borers of maize were introduced twice (3 and 5 weeks after planting). In addition, he said, another experiment involving infected maize and spraying seven times to control pest damage, where the evaluation of the amount of pests made by insects was held on the 1st and 2nd of October this
year (7th week after planting). Transgenic hybrids showed higher yields to 8.3 -58.0 per cent than their conventional counterparts.

The gene had positive and significant effect under drought without significant yield penalty, under optimum moisture condition despite excessive stress, the GMO maize rate was similar to the rate shown by the pneumatic bacteria sperm. Read more