Food security is an enormous challenge for the smallholder farming sector, especially in the Eastern Cape province where maize production is extensively susceptible to major stresses which include drought, low soil fertility, low soil pH, diseases leading to low maize yields. The situation is worsened by the high inputs cost, particularly maize seed costs, all contributing to low yields and the resulting poor profitability of maize. A cheaper, open pollinated variety (OPV) of maize (ZM1523) has been screened which suits the semi-arid environments of the province.

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