The Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre(SIRDC) has developed maize varieties which are drought and disease tolerant through the use of molecular marker assisted selection.
The Bio-technology Research Institute uses the conventional and molecular bio-technology in areas of plant and animal improvement and production for the benefit of agriculture. One such innovation is the production of a maize variety that can be tried in dry and arid areas which have low rainfall.
The Director of the Biotechnology Research Institute, Dexter Savadye explains the process of the production of the CIDA maize 113 which has the greatest capability to adapt to moisture stress.
The maize variety which is not genetically modified uses the conventional method of cross pollination with genetic markers used in amplifying the desired traits through crossing several generations. All this is done in the laboratory.
The project which was started in Mexico is on trial in Zimbabwe in various parts of the country such as Muzarabani where initial indications are to the effect that yield per hectare has increased since the launch of the pilot project last year.
The Commercialisation of the seed variety is expected next year as SIRDC intensifies efforts to ensure national food security through research and scientific innovations.