What is SIMLESA and who funds it?
SIMLESA stands for Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Cropping systems for food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa. This multi-partner, 10-year initiative is being implemented by national agricultural systems in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania, with support from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation – University of Queensland (QAAFI-UQ), and the Australian Government through the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). It also operates in the spillover countries of Botwsana, Rwanda and Uganda.
Whom can I contact with questions about the project?
Over how many years will SIMLESA run?
The duration of the project is 10 years, from January 2010 through June 2014(Phase 1), and July 2014-December 2018 (Phase 2).
Where can I find out more about the project, its goals, and strategies?
This website will provide more detail on the program, its goals and strategies, objectives, envisioned outputs, activities and more. You can also contact key program personnel in each country for more information.
Which countries does SIMLESA operate in?
SIMLESA focuses its activities and research in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Australia. In addition, lessons learned, and experiences gained are shared in spillover countries – Botswana, Rwanda and Uganda.
Why is Australia a focal country for this program?
Existing capacity in Australia will be invaluable to helping this region with needed adaptations to deal with climate change. Australia could benefit from the drought tolerant and disease resistant maize germplasm developed by CIMMYT for Africa. In turn, Africa can benefit from advanced GxE analysis techniques applied by Australian breeders which could also initiate more systematic germplasm exchange between CIMMYT and Australia. Further benefits could come from the exchange of legumes and Rhizobium strains.
What kinds of breeding activities and improved seed are anticipated as a result of SIMLESA activities?
Varieties that meet the requirements of the agro-ecologies of targeted farming systems and farmer preferences will be fast-tracked for release. Seed production will be scaled up from 10-15 maize varieties and 10 legume varieties, and demonstrated in 730 mother-baby trials for maize and 500 for legumes. The poor availability of adapted tropical legume varieties with potential for improving grain yield and maintaining soil fertility will be addressed through collaborations with ICRISAT and partner NARS to facilitate participatory variety development and seed delivery systems, as well as to establish a backbone of regional nurseries.
What impact is SIMLESA anticipated to have in East and Southern Africa?
SIMLESA will have local impact within the lifespan of the program and is expected to have significant community impact in a 10-year time frame throughout the target countries. The integrated approach of the program is crucial for developing viable solutions that address key constraints to the adoption process within maize-legume systems in Africa.