The TELA Maize Project is a public-private partnership that is working towards initiating the commercialization of transgenic insect-protected and later drought-tolerant maize varieties to enhance food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. The word “TELA” is derived from the Latin word TUTELA which means “Protection.” The TELA Maize Project builds on progress made from a decade of excellent breeding work under the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Project.
WEMA’s purpose was to develop drought-tolerant and insect-protected maize varieties for farmers to produce more reliable harvests under moderate drought conditions and protect maize from insects. The project used both conventional advanced plant breeding and biotechnology in the development of the maize varieties. The TELA Project is a continuation of the transgenic WEMA component.