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Mark Edge

Mark Edge leads Monsanto’s collaboration with the WEMA public-private partnership project to improve food security and rural livelihood among smallholder maize producers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The project develops new drought-tolerant and insect pest-protected maize hybrids and provides the technology royalty-free. It helps build technical capacity in Africa to use conventional and molecular breeding as well as biotechnology.

Mark grew up on a corn, soybean and livestock farm in Iowa. His background before joining Monsanto includes experience in biotech research; many aspects of managing seed business development as well as the grain export business.

Border Sessions 2014 - Thu, 13 Nov 2014

How technology is changing the way we breed our plants
Three-quarters of the world’s most severe droughts over the past 10 years have occurred in Africa, making farming risky for millions of smallholder farmers, most of whom are women and rely on rainfall to water their crops. Maize is the most widely grown staple crop in Africa – more than 300 million Africans depend on it as their main food source. Maize production is severely affected by drought, which can lead to unpredictable and low yields, and at worst, complete crop failure.

The Water Efficient Maize for Africa project (WEMA) is a public/private partnership, led by the Kenyan-based African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and USAID.

It was created with a goal to enhance food security in Sub-Saharan Africa through developing and deploying drought-tolerant maize royalty-free to the smallholder farmers. Insect-protection is complementary to the efforts of developing more drought-tolerant maize varieties and will also be available royalty-free. This increased yield stability has the potential to help reduce hunger and improve the livelihood of millions of Africans.