Maize research and development
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Maize (Zea mays L.) ranks first in terms of the number of producers, area grown and total cereal production in Zimbabwe. Maize is the staple food crop of the nation and is also an important cash crop. About 64 per cent of Grain Marketing Board maize sales is used for human consumption, 22 per cent is used for livestock and poultry feed and 14 per cent is used for other industrial purposes. During good production periods, surplus maize is exported, earning much- needed foreign exchange. Domestic consumers prefer white maize for their requirements although under emergencies, such as the droughts of 1966, 1992/1993 and 2001/2, people have had to change to eating yellow maize. Yellow maize is grown in Zimbabwe mainly for livestock feed and maize stover is an important source of livestock feed during the dry winter months. Therefore maize is a strategic crop for Zimbabwe and throughout eastern and southern Africa (Byerlee and Eicher, 1997). This chapter will first discuss the maize production trends in Zimbabwe and then examine the factors that have contributed to successful maize production in the different agricultural sectors. The chapter also explores the challenges for maize production in the new millennium.