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Maize and legume are being studied for African food security

African and Australian researchers met in Nairobi to discuss ways to produce more and better maize for the African continent that depends on the vegetable as an essential food crop, according to a new report from Voice of America.

The African scientists came from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.

Currently, almost one third of Africa's maize is imported from outside of the continent.

"We are ...developing another type of maize, which is called quality protein maize for Africa. It is using a conventional breeding approach enhancing the nutritional value of maize by bringing in genes which provide higher levels of lysine and tryptophan, which are essential amino acids required for children, mothers and so forth," said Dr. Bekele Shiferaw, the chair and a director of the Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume in Easter and Souther Africa (SIMLESA) project, at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.

The Australian government is lending a hand to the project, as the country down-under is supporting the four-year collaboration between African countries and Australia.

According to the Australian government website for SIMLESA, the goal is to raise maize and legume productivity by 30 percent within 10 years.  
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