Taking Maize Agronomy to Scale in Africa (TAMASA)


22 May 2017

2016 Annual Interpretive Summary

Maize productivity remains low (<2 t/ha/yr) in sub-Saharan Africa, even though average yields of 4 t/ha are possible if optimum management is practiced. Taking maize agronomy to scale in Africa (TAMASA) project was initiated in Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Tanzania to develop and promote improved agronomic practices for maize production intensification. The project is a collaboration between the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), and service providers. IPNI is leading the site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) Use Case for developing decision support tools that can help crop advisers to provide small holder maize farmers with improved nutrient management and fertilizer recommendations to increase yield and profits. In the first two years, the project has focused on implementation of nutrient omission trials (NOTs) in farmers’ fields in all three countries to understand local maize production systems and generate agronomic datasets (yield, yield response, nutrients uptake) to calibrate Nutrient Expert® (NE). The NE fertilizer decision support tool is being adapted by the TAMASA project for improved nutrient management in maize-based farming systems in all three pilot countries. Six treatments were tested in NOTs over two crop growing seasons, a control, a NPK treatment, three treatments in which the N, P, and K nutrients were omitted one at a time from the NPK treatment, and a treatment with NPK +secondary and micronutrients. Validation Trials were also conducted in 2016 in Ethiopia and Nigeria to compare the regional, NE and soil-test based NE recommendations.

Over 700 NOTs were established across all three countries. NE was subsequently parameterized and an Android version was developed for Ethiopia and Nigeria, which are available for user testing. Potential NE tool users and host institutions were mapped, and training on nutrient management and NE were imparted to partners. The short- to medium-term outcomes of the project include: (1) maize yield, yield response and nutrients uptake database available to non-project users; (2) improved understanding and new knowledge of nutrient-related yield gaps in maize; and (3) enhanced capacity of researchers, service providers and farmers to implement 4R practices (i.e., applying the right source of fertilizer, at the right amount, at the right time and in the right place) to reduce maize yield gaps.