Maize Projects

Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security

Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security

Climate change threatens the food security and livelihoods of farmers worldwide, and negatively impacts our ability to feed a growing population into the future. The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) seeks to overcome the threats to agriculture and food security in a changing climate, exploring new ways of helping vulnerable rural communities adjust to global changes in climate. Led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), CCAFS is a collaboration among all 15 CGIAR research centers and works closely with CIMMYT to address climate change for farmers in the developing world in addition to coordinating with the other CGIAR research programs (CRPs). CCAFS brings together the world’s best researchers in agricultural science, climate science, and the social sciences to address the most important interactions, affects, and trade-offs between climate change and agriculture.

Objectives:

  • Identify and develop pro-poor adaptation and mitigation practices, technologies and policies for agriculture and food systems;
  • Support the inclusion of agriculture in climate change policies, and of climate issues in agricultural policies, at all levels.

Donors:

  • Department for International Development (DFID)

Project leader:

  • Clare Stirling, C.Stirling@cgiar.org

Project website:

  • https://ccafs.cgiar.org/

Years:

N/A

Project website


Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA)

Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA)

Maize is Sub-Saharan Africa’s most important food crop, yet average maize yields in the region are far below the crop’s genetic potential due to drought and other factors. Maize agriculture in Africa is almost completely rainfed and thus depends on the region’s increasingly erratic precipitation, threatening farmers’ livelihoods and food security. Launched in 2006, the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project aims to mitigate drought and other constraints to maize production in sub-Saharan Africa, increasing maize yields by at least one ton per hectare under moderate drought and with a 20 to 30 percent increase over farmers’ current yields, benefiting 30-40 million people in 13 African countries. The project brings together men and women farmers, research institutions, extension specialists, seed producers, farmer community organizations, and non-government organizations. Millions of farmers in the region are already benefiting from the outputs of this partnership, which includes support and training for African seed producers and promoting vibrant, competitive seed markets.

Objectives:

  • Breeding for drought and heat stress tolerant maize germplasm for future climates
  • Buffering maize seed production against elevated temperatures in Africa through application of plant growth regulators
  • Capacity building on heat stress phenotyping and breeding for combined drought and heat stress tolerance

Partners:

  • International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
  • national agricultural research systems in participating nations

Donors:

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
  •  Howard G. Buffett Foundation
  •  U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • UK Department for International Development.

Project leader:

  • Dr. Tsedeke Abate (t.d.abate@cgiar.org), CIMMYT Kenya

Achievements:

  • Over 2007-12, participants marketed or otherwise made available 60 drought tolerant hybrids and 57 open pollinated varieties to smallholder farmers
  • Close to 29,000 tons of seed was produced in the 2011/12 season (Table 2)—enough to sow more than 1.1 million hectares, benefiting about 2.9 million households or 20 million people.
  • DTMA scientists have provided technical and advisory support to 50 African undergraduate and 28 African graduate students.

Project Website:

  • http://dtma.cimmyt.org/

Years:

  • 2006-2015

Project website


Drought Tolerant Maize Seed Scaling in Eastern and Southern Africa (DTMASS)

Drought Tolerant Maize Seed Scaling in Eastern and Southern Africa (DTMASS)

Officially launched in March 2015, the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa Seed Scaling (DTMASS) project aims to meet demand and improve access to good-quality maize through production and deployment of affordable and improved drought-tolerant, stress-resilient and high-yielding maize varieties for smallholder farmers. Born out of the progress made by Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) and other complementary CIMMYT maize projects in Africa, the emphasis of the project is scaling-up and adopting improved maize varieties in seven countries in eastern and southern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia). The project, which is led by CIMMYT and implemented through partnerships with public and private institutions, will benefit smallholder farmers by improving their food security and incomes, and will further strengthen production and delivery of maize seed in sub-Saharan Africa.
Objectives

  • Sustainably increase the availability, affordability and usage of prioritized, new, drought-tolerant maize varieties in the targeted countries, focusing on seed supply and demand
  • Contribute towards improved food, livelihood and nutritional security of smallholder farm families in the targeted countries
  • Over the next five years, DTMASS plans to produce close to 12,000 metric tons of certified seed for use by approximately 400,000 households, or 2.5 million people, in seven countries in eastern and southern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia)

Key partner institution/s

  • Public and private seed companies
  • National agricultural research systemsinstitutes
  • Various ministries of agriculture
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Community-based organizations

Funding institution/s

  • United States Agency for International Development

Project leader:

  • Tsedeke Abate, ( t.d.abate@cgiar.org)

Project website:

    http://www.cimmyt.org/en/what-we-do/maize-research/item/drought-tolerant-maize-for-africa-seed-scaling
      Years:

    • 2014-2017

Project website


Fighting poverty and malnutrition through fostering sustainable, resilient, and innovative maize-based production systems in Guatemala

Fighting poverty and malnutrition through fostering sustainable, resilient, and innovative maize-based production systems in Guatemala

Over 53 percent of the population of Guatemala lives in poverty, and 49 percent suffer chronic malnutrition. 73 percent of soils are severely degraded and maize yields are low, which will likely be further exacerbated by climate change. The “Fighting poverty and malnutrition through fostering sustainable, resilient, and innovative maize-based production systems in Guatemala” project aims to encourage innovation to reduce poverty and malnutrition among smallholder farmers in the western highlands of Guatemala while increasing sustainability in maize systems. This will be accomplished through three research pillars: milpa-maize germplasm improvement, natural resource conservation in farming systems, and maize-based farming systems and diversification. To address the main challenges of the region and drive change, small-scale, resource-poor farmers will be at the center of activities and innovation. Through an agricultural innovation framework and social inclusion strategies, the project works to ensure that research results have an impact in the field for smallholder farmers.

Objectives:

  • Research for reduction of poverty, food insecurity, malnutrition, and increase sustainability
  • Create an enabling environment for reduction of poverty, food insecurity, malnutrition, and increase sustainability

Donors:

  • USAID

Years:

  • 2015-2018

Project Leader:

  • Rachel Cox, R.Cox@cgiar.org

Project Website:

  • N/A

The Hill Maize Research Project

The Hill Maize Research Project

The Hill Maize Research Project (HMRP) began in 1999 with the objective to increase food security of farming families in the hill region of Nepal by raising production, productivity and sustainability of maize-based cropping systems. The project just completed its fourth phase, with the goal of improving food security and income of poor and disadvantaged groups in the hills of Nepal by further up-scaling and consolidating project achievements from the past three phases, including gender equity and social inclusion (GESI), Community-based Seed Production (CBSP), seed marketing and continuing policy advocacy for decentralized source seed production and public–private partnership in seed quality control. HMRP seeks to support hill maize farmers to adopt sustainable and profitable maize varieties and technologies to enhance productivity and marketing opportunities, through activities to enhance seed production and improve technology dissemination and marketing. This gives farming families enhanced livelihood options and better access to quality maize seed, locally adapted, farmer-accepted maize varieties, and resource conserving technologies.

Objectives/ Achievements:

  • Seven high yielding and disease and drought tolerant maize varieties, including one QPM have been developed and released in Nepal, and several pipeline varieties are being tested and improved for release in the near future. For more detail.
  • Protocols for maize crop and soil management technologies, including intercropping of maize with vegetables are being developed and tested in farmers’ fields for validation.
  • CBSP has been successfully implemented in several remote hilly areas, ensuring seed self-sufficiency in the hills of Nepal.
  • Improved crop and soil management technologies have been validated and successfully adopted by resource poor farmers.
  • GESI has been a successful approach in reaching the unreached, especially women, Dalits and Janajatis.

Donors:

  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Project leader:

Years:
1999-2015

Project website:
http://hmrp.cimmyt.org/

Project website


Improved Maize for African Soils (IMAS)

Improved Maize for African Soils (IMAS)

The livelihoods and food security of African maize farmers are threatened by degraded, nutrient-starved soils and farmers’ limited access to fertilizer or improved maize seed. Maize yields of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are a fraction of those in the developed world. The Improved Maize for African Soils Project (IMAS) seeks to develop maize varieties that are better at capturing the small amount of fertilizer that African farmers can afford, and that use the nitrogen they take up more efficiently to produce grain. Project participants will use cutting-edge biotechnology tools to develop varieties that ultimately yield 30-50 percent more than currently available varieties with the same amount of nitrogen fertilizer applied or when grown on poorer soils. The varieties developed will be made available royalty-free to seed companies that sell to the region’s smallholder farmers, meaning that the seed will become available to farmers at the same cost as other types of improved maize seed.

Objectives:

  • Conventional and marker assisted breeding to develop hybrids and OPVs with improved nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) adapted to southern and eastern Africa
  • Identification and deployment of native trait alleles to enhance yield under low nitrogen conditions through association mapping and QTL mapping
  • Development of transgenic maize varieties adapted to southern and eastern Africa with increased yield under severe nitrogen limitation
  • Managing NUE varieties for sustainability in African maize cropping systems
  • Project stewardship, public awareness and capacity building
  • NUE variety registration, release and dissemination in southern and eastern Africa

Funding institutions:

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • USAID

Partners:

  • the DuPont Business, Pioneer Hi-Bred; the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI); and the South African Agricultural Research Council (ARC)

Principal coordinators:

  • USAID

Project leader:

  • Biswanath Das, b.das@CGIAR.org

Project website:

  • http://www.cimmyt.org/en/projects/improved-maize-for-african-soils/about-imas-project

Years:

  • 2010-(2015?)

Project website


International Maize Improvement Consortium (IMIC) for Asia

International Maize Improvement Consortium (IMIC) for Asia

The International Maize Improvement Consortium for Asia (IMIC-Asia) is a partnership of over 40 institutions (seed companies, national programs and foundations) formed by CIMMYT to develop and share improved maize inbreds and hybrids for targeted impacts on the hybrid maize sector in Asia. This is all done through a shared research investment. IMIC-Asia, which was established in 2010, has so far developed and distributed over 1,500 improved inbred lines developed by CIMMYT to members for use in new inbred line development or in heterotic hybrid combinations of the partners. IMIC germplasm incorporates trait priorities jointly identified by members while still maintaining the typical vast genetic diversity of CIMMYT germplasm. Whether it is training on maize breeding, field based phenotyping for abiotic stresses, statistical and genomic data management imparted through this consortium or evaluation of pre-release hybrid combinations of partners, IMIC-Asia has added value to the research portfolio of member companies.

Objectives/Achievements:

  • Development and distribution of inbred lines and identification of marketable CIMMYT hybrids
  • Impart Training on Breeding and Data Management
  • Evaluation of Maize Hybrids

Donors:

  • Seed Companies (various)

Contact information:

  • BS Vivek (bvivek@cgiar.org) or AR Sadananda (a.r.sadananda@cgiar.org), CIMMYT-Hyderabad, India.

Years:2010-2018


Managing maize lethal necrosis (MLN) in eastern Africa through accelerated development and delivery

Managing maize lethal necrosis (MLN) in eastern Africa through accelerated development and delivery

Maize lethal necrosis (MLN) disease has been wreaking havoc on maize production in East Africa since it was discovered in the region in 2011, and the local maize seed industry is under pressure to quickly replace the MLN vulnerable varieties with elite MLN resistant maize germplasm from institutions such as CIMMYT. The “Managing maize lethal necrosis (MLN) in eastern Africa through accelerated development and delivery” project aims to ensure a continuous flow of elite, MLN resistant inbred lines, hybrids and open-pollinated varieties to farmers through partners. This will be done through rigorous screening under natural disease pressure and artificial inoculation in the MLN screening facility established under the project in Kenya, which will serve CIMMYT, NARS, and private sector maize breeding programs in eastern Africa for developing MLN resistant hybrids to replace existing susceptible commercial cultivars. The ultimate aim is to enhance food security, improve livelihoods, and reduce poverty in eastern Africa by minimizing or eliminating the risks and effects of MLN on maize production.

Objectives:

  • Establishing a centralized MLN screening facility in KALRO-Naivasha (Kenya) and development of an optimized MLN screening protocol;
  • Ensuring a continuous flow of MLN resistant elite germplasm in sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Seed systems support for rapid scale-up, demonstration and marketing of MLN resistant varieties to replace susceptible products.

Donors

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BGMF)
  • Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA)

Partners:

  • Lenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization

Project Contact:

  • B. M. Prasanna, b.m.prasanna@cgiar.org

Project website:

  • N/A

Years:

  • 2013-2016

MasAgro

MasAgro

The Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture (MasAgro) project is a research and development project that aims to improve the productivity and livelihoods of resource-constrained farmers in Mexico and to develop, test and adapt sustainable farming technologies to their needs. A joint initiative of Mexico’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) and CIMMYT, the project achieves productivity and income increases by promoting the adoption of improved cropping practices (including conservation and precision agriculture), and of conventionally bred, high-yielding varieties of maize and wheat. MasAgro also supports farmers in climate change adaptation and to ensure that productivity is increased sustainably.
The project relies on a collaborative research and capacity building strategy that looks for solutions to overcome the challenges confronting farmers across Mexico’s maize and wheat value chains. MasAgro brings together growers, seed companies, researchers, authorities and technicians to provide access to technologies and expert advice to farmers facing soil degradation, water scarcity, rising costs and unstable yields.

Objectives

  • Reach out directly to farmers to test and promote improved farming practices such as conservation and precision agriculture.
  • Help energize and improve the competitiveness of maize seed markets by involving and supporting scores of small- and medium-sized companies across the country.
  • Link and contribute to international networks of research for characterization and use of maize and wheat genetic resources, maize improvement and wheat yield potential.

Funding institutions

  • Mexico’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA)
  • Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Project coordinator:

  • Bram Govaerts, b.govaerts@cgiar.org

Project website:

  • http://masagro.mx/index.php/en/

Years:

  • 2012-2017

Project website


Nutritious Maize for Ethiopia

Nutritious Maize for Ethiopia

Maize ranks first among cereal crops in production in Ethiopia, and its high productivity means that many families increasingly rely on maize as their staple food source. Despite its high productivity, maize does not provide balanced protein for human consumption. It is deficient in two essential amino acids – lysine and tryptophan – putting people who consume maize without alternative protein sources at risk for malnutrition.

The Nutritious Maize for Ethiopia (NuME) project is contributing to the reduction of malnutrition, especially among women and young children, and increasing food security for resource-poor smallholder farmers through the widespread production and utilization of Quality Protein Maize (QPM), a maize variety that contains enhanced levels of lysine and tryptophan.

Led by CIMMYT, NuME is implemented in collaboration with partners involved in research, extension and seed-sector development. These partners are drawn from government agencies, local and international non-governmental organizations, universities and public and private seed companies.

Expected outputs

  • ULTIMATE OUTCOME: Improved household food and nutritional security, especially for young children and women, through QPM adoption with appropriate crop management practices that increase farm productivity.
  • 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.
  • Increased QPM grain production in diverse agro-ecologies including drought-prone and highlands
  • Increased quantities of high quality QPM breeders’, pre-basic, basic and certified seed available to female and male seed producers and farmers

Donors:

  • Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD)

Project leader:

  • Adefris Teklewold A.Teklewold@cgiar.org

Years:

  • 2012-2017

Project website:

  • http://nume.cimmyt.org/

Key partner institutions:

  • Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Ethiopia
  • Bureau of Agriculture (Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and Southern Nations and Nationality regional National Governments
  • Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research (EIAR)
  • Farm Radio International (FRI)
  • Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG2000)
  • Harvard School of Public Health
  • Ethiopian, Amhara, Oromia and South Seed Enterprises
  • Meki-batu Farmers’ cooperative Union and other private seed companies

Project website


Sustainable intensification of maize-legume cropping systems for food security in eastern and southern Africa (SIMLESA)

Sustainable intensification of maize-legume cropping systems for food security in eastern and southern Africa (SIMLESA)

The intensification and stabilization of rainfed maize-legume cropping systems shows considerable promise in boosting productivity, improving food and nutrition security and helping reverse the decline in soil fertility that is a fundamental cause of low smallholder productivity throughout Eastern and Southern Africa. The Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume cropping systems for food security in Eastern and Southern Africa (SIMLESA) program aims to improve maize and legume productivity by 30 percent and to reduce the expected downside yield risk by 30 percent on approximately 500,000 farms within ten years. This will be accomplished through participatory research and development with farmers, extension agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities and agribusiness along the value chains. The focal countries of program research are Burundi, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, and Australia. Through sub-regional research organizations and existing networks, the program will foster spillovers of improved crop systems management practices, knowledge and germplasm to other countries in the east central and southern Africa regions.

Objectives:

  • To characterize maize-legume production and input and output value chain systems and impact pathways, and identify broad systemic constraints and options for field testing
  • To test and develop productive, resilient and sustainable smallholder maize-legume cropping systems and innovation systems for local scaling out
  • To increase the range of maize and legume varieties available through accelerated breeding, regional testing and release, and availability of performance data
  • To support the development of regional and local innovations system
  • Capacity building to increase the efficiency of agricultural research today and in the future

Partners/Donors:

  • ACIAR
  • Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA)
  • NARS of Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.
  • International Center for Research for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
  • Agricultural Research Council of South Africa (ARC RSA)
  • Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Queensland, and Murdoch
  • University in Western Australia.

Program Coordinator:

  • Mulugetta Mekuria (CIMMYT; Agricultural Economist) m.mekuria@cgiar.org

Project website:

  • http://simlesa.cimmyt.org/

Years:

  • 2010-2018

Project website


Taking Maize Agronomy to Scale in Africa (TAMASA)

Taking Maize Agronomy to Scale in Africa (TAMASA)

Maize is an important staple food and feed crop in Sub-Saharan Africa, but smallholder farmers’ yields are well below the best yields that can be obtained on farm with current technology. The Taking Maize Agronomy to Scale in Africa (TAMASA) project seeks to close this ‘attainable yield gap’ using innovative approaches such as near-real-time assessments and digital maps of maize growing areas, actual and attainable yields in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Nigeria; decision-support tools for nutrient and crop management; open-access databases of soil and agronomic data; and increased capacity in national programs and partners through in-country data science and software application training and mentoring.
The critical short-term outcome will be an increased use of appropriate inputs by smallholder farmers, supported by strong, local investment cases based on the integration and analysis of geospatial, econometric and risk data. The overall outcome will be an increase in smallholder maize yields with concomitant benefits to food security and livelihoods.

Objectives:

  • Use modern large data and analytics to map maize areas, soil constraints and attainable yields at different scales
  • Work with input suppliers, agro-dealers, government research and extension services to identify and co-develop systems and applications that transform this data and information to useable products that support their businesses or programs to reach clients more effectively
  • Build capacity in national programs to support and sustain these approaches

Partners:

  • International Wheat & Maize Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
  • International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI)
  • Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) (Columbia)

Donors:

  • BMGF

Project leader:

  • Peter Craufurd, CIMMYT p.craufurd@cgiar.org

Project Website:

  • http://research.ipni.net/research/ssa.nsf/p/IPNI-2015-SSAP-04

Years:

  • 2014-2018

Project website


Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA)

Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA)

The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) partnership was launched in March 2008 to help farmers manage the risk of drought by developing and deploying maize varieties that yield 24 to 35 percent more grain under moderate drought conditions than currently available varieties. The higher and more reliable harvests will help farmers to feed their families and increase their incomes.

The varieties are being developed using conventional breeding, marker-assisted breeding, and biotechnology, and will be marketed royalty-free to smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa through African seed companies. The current, second phase of the project (2013–2017) includes breeding for resistance to stem borers—insect pests that seriously damage maize crops in the field—as well as product and production management, promotion with seed companies and farmers, and product stewardship activities.

The project focuses on Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa and Uganda.

Objectives

  • Product development. Develop and test drought tolerant and and insect-pest resistant maize varieties through conventional, molecular, and genetic engineering breeding approaches.
  • Regulatory affairs and compliance. Support multi-location testing and commercial release of drought tolerant and insect-pest resistant maize hybrids in the WEMA partner countries.
  • Product deployment: Product and production management. Facilitate the marketing and stewardship of drought tolerant and insect-pest resistant hybrid maize seeds, and stimulate private sector investments for sustainable seed production, distribution and us
  • Communications and outreach. Support testing, dissemination, commercialization, adoption, and stewardship of conventional and transgenic drought tolerant and insect-pest resistant hybrids in the five target countries.
  • Legal and licensing support. Develop and implement appropriate licensing and intellectual property protection mechanisms for WEMA products.

Funding institution/s

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Howard G. Buffett Foundation
  • USAID

Key partner institution/s

  • The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF; leading the partnership).
  • CIMMYT
  • Monsanto
  • The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO)
  • Instituto de Investigação Agrária de Moçambique (IIAM)
  • The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of South Africa
  • The Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH)
  • National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Uganda
  • Seed companies and organizations such as the African Seed Traders Association (AFSTA) and seed associations in project countries are crucial to success.

Principal coordinator/s

  • Dr. Stephen Ngure Mugo ( s.mugo@cgiar.org)

Expected outputs

  • On-farm results show a 20-35% maize grain yield increase over 2008 commercial hybrids during moderate drought years by farmers growing WEMA hybrids and utilizing best management practices.
  • At least 15 quality drought tolerant maize hybrids produced and distributed to target farmers by WEMA partnership in the five partner countries.
  • Field testing and commercial release of drought tolerant and insect-pest resistant maize hybrids in participating countries.
  • Seed company commercial programs are enhanced annually through utilization of superior, WEMA drought tolerant inbred lines.
  • At least five farmer-preferred transgenic insect-pest resistant (MON810) white maize hybrids and MON810 stacked with transgenic drought tolerance (MON87460 or other) put into national performance trials, provided the regulatory approvals are in place.

Project website

  • http://wema.aatf-africa.org/

Years: Phase II – 2013-2017

Project website