In the Deyr season of 2012 SATG, in partnership with CIMMYT, conducted trials to test drought tolerant maize hybrids in the Afgoi district of the Lower Shabelle region. These trials showed record-breaking results, verifying that production of maize, Somalia’s most important crop, can be increased between 30%-40%. Resulting yields were comparable to those of developed countries, an outcome that can be attributed to high seed quality and improved production practises. The trial used new technology introduced by SATG, and was the first of its kind conducted in Somalia, propelling the country into its first Grain Revolution.
As a result of the overwhelming success of last season’s trial SATG, once again in partnership with CIMMYT, conducted another round of tests in Afgoi for the Gu season of 2013. The Gu season’s maize hybrids were placed into larger trial and demonstration plots using farmers’ fields. Findings for this season resulted in the same trend; maize hybrids that were superior last year continue to show superiority. Yet again, the results prove Somalia’s potential in maize production. Rather than importing hybrid seeds from outside the country, SATG has taken the initiative to increase seed of the inbred lines to initiate commercial hybrid seed production locally.
Following the achievement of two successful growing seasons, on July 22, 2013 SATG hosted a field day in Afgoi, inviting participants from Lower and Middle Shabelle regions. Representatives of Lower Shabelle came from Afgoi and Awdegle districts, and representatives of Middle Shabelle came from Balad district. Also in attendance were NGOs Hijra (Afgoi), DRC (Afgoi), CESVI (Mogadishu) and students from the Departments of Agriculture in the Banadir University and SAGRA. The program included speeches from core farmers such as Sultan Buwe Abdulle Buwe, Haji Nasir Ali Ahmed and Hasan Barqadle Wardoon.
The attendees responded enthusiastically on viewing the hybrid maize in contrast with other plots that were planted with traditional maize seeds. Among the farmers, many expressed a keen interest in using the same SATG production technology and practises for their crops for the next growing season.
SATG would like to thank all Field Day participants, and special thanks goes to Haji Nasir Ali Ahmed and Abdulatiif Mohamed Salah for allowing their plots to be used for the Hybrid Maize and Demo plot trials. SATG welcomes the continuing support of CIMMYT and other partners willing to join the initiative that is certain to be a catalyst in Somalia’s Grain Revolution.