Taking Maize Agronomy to Scale in Africa (TAMASA)


01 Mar 2015

Project Description

Maize is an important staple food and feed crop in SSA predominantly grown by some 55 million smallholder farmers in maize-based systems. Smallholder maize yields are well below the best yields that can be obtained on farm with current technology. Working closely with AfSIS, there is an opportunity to close this ‘attainable yield gap’ using innovative approaches that: (i) use modern large data and analytics to map maize areas, soil constraints and attainable yields at different scales; (ii) work with input suppliers, agro-dealers, government research and extension services (i.e. service providers) to identify and co-develop systems and applications that transform this data and information to useable products that support their businesses or programs to reach clients more effectively; and (iii) build capacity in national programs to support and sustain these approaches. The core products and services of this project include: near-real-time assessments and digital maps of maize growing areas, actual and attainable yields in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Nigeria; decision-support tools for nutrient and crop management; open-access databases of soil and agronomic data; and increased capacity in national programs and partners through in-country data science and software application training and mentoring. The critical short-term outcome will be an increased use of appropriate inputs by smallholder farmers, supported by strong, local investment cases based on the integration and analysis of geospatial, econometric and risk data. The overall outcome will be an increase in smallholder maize yields with concomitant benefits to food security and livelihoods. Input suppliers and agro-dealers businesses should also benefit.
The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) is an international organization with a range of expertise and products on plant/soil nutrition, as well as strong links to the fertilizer industry and others in this field such as the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) IPNI will lead the use-case on decision-support systems for nutrients based on their existing products and will work with the fertilizer industry on applications relating to fertilizer blends.