Nippon Foundation





CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center) is the global leader for research, development, and training in maize and wheat and in farming systems for those two essential food crops. From its headquarters in Mexico and offices throughout the developing world, the center works with partners worldwide to reduce poverty and hunger by sustainably increasing the productivity of maize and wheat cropping systems. CIMMYT is a member of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Consortium and receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks, and other public and private agencies.

NuME (Nutritious Maize for Ethiopia ) is a five year Project led by CIMMYT and funded by the former Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), now Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) Canada; itis being implemented in collaboration with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), the Ministry of Health, the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute (EHNRI), Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA)/ Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG2000) Ethiopia, other NGOs, universities, and public and private seed companies.

The project outline

Project period: March 2012 – September 2017 (5 years)

Target Area:36 districts in four regions (6 in Amhara, 20 in Oromia, 7 in SNNPR, 3 in Tigray)

Fund Amoun: CAD 2,604,600

Goal: Improved household food and nutritional security, especially for young children and women, through the adoption of quality protein maize (QPM) with appropriate crop management practices that increase farm productivity.

Background, Purpose of the Project and Role of SAA:


Host farmer comparing QPM maize and check

Due to the higher productivity of maize and its lower cost compared to other cereals, Ethiopian families increasingly rely on it as their staple food source. Despite its high productivity, maize is a poor source of balanced protein for human consumption, being deficient in the essential amino-acids, lysine and tryptophan. Consequently, in zones where maize constitutes a major component of the diet and consumption of other protein sources is low, people (especially young children) are at risk of protein deficiency. The above mentioned essential amino acids are important for good health and balanced physical and mental development. Other protein sources (meat, fish, poultry or eggs) are not affordable for resource poor smallholder farmers. In such circumstances, quality protein maize (QPM), a breeder-derived (not a biotechnology produced GMO) form of maize that contains twice as much lysine and tryptophan as common maize varieties, could fill the lysine intake gap.


QPM variety and check

There are several varieties of QPM that have been developed but not yet known by the Ethiopian farmers; calling for a project like NuME to aggressively disseminates such varieties to vulnerable communities. The project is being implemented in three agro-ecological zones (drought-prone, moist mid-altitude and highland zones) in focal woredas of Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray Regions, where impact is expected to be greatest, as identified by GIS analysis combining agro-climatic, nutritional and poverty databases. A multifaceted program will increase awareness of QPM and its nutritional benefits through crop demonstration plots; field days, including QPM utilization in traditional food dishes; information and training through farmer training centers; and a farmer participatory radio media campaign; all of which are expected to bring about increased adoption and utilization of QPM.
The immediate outcomes of the Project, which address the specific constraints listed above, are:

  • Increased demand by male and female farmers for QPM seed through greater awareness of QPM and its nutritional benefits.
  • Enhanced knowledge and skills of women and men in targeted communities in preparation of traditional food and new food products using QPM.

The intermediate outcomes of the Project are:

  • Increased utilization of QPM seed (for planting) and grain (for consumption), particularly by vulnerable groups with emphasis on young children and women in maize producing areas.

Immediate outputs of the project are:

  • Field plot demonstrations and associated field day events to promote QPM varieties, nutritional benefits and utilization involving men and women farmers, DAs, government officials, seed companies, food industry, home economists and health extension officers

The project has different components (breeding, seed production & dissemination). The dissemination component of the project is being implemented by different partners and coordinated by SAA/Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG 2000) Ethiopia. Partner institutions involved in the dissemination activities are the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Bureau of Agriculture (BoA) of the four regions, universities, public and private seed companies, other NGOs and Farmers Cooperative Union.

The project also partners with Farm Radio International (FRI), which works with Ethiopian radio stations to develop a gender sensitive campaign to help women and men farmers gain a better understanding of nutrition and protein, and to raise awareness of QPM and other strategies for improving the nutrition and health of families, especially children.

Major activities of the dissemination component of the project are to:

  • Establish side-by-side field plot demonstrations (demos) of QPM and non-QPM varieties under best management practices at FTCs and roadside farmers’ fields, including female farmers in the establishment and demos of QPM varieties.
  • Conduct field days at best demo plots targeting female and male community members to show agronomic performance of QPM varieties cf. non-QPM versions, and different traditional and new QPM dishes
  • The project also uses audio visual facilities (Digital Green technology) to train farmers.

For further information:

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