CIMMYT Annual Report Maize and wheat for future climates

In 2016, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) marked and celebrated 50 years of applying excellence in maize and wheat science to improve the livelihoods of the disadvantaged.

The work has brought remarkable returns on the funding we receive, but droughts and rising heat, destructive new pests and crop diseases, and poverty and political instability continue to threaten global and regional food supplies and nutrition.

Some 800 million people still go hungry and, by 2030, projections indicate there will be 8.4 billion people to feed – 1 billion more than at present and many living in regions where food and nutritional security are not easily supported.

With the commitment and continuous support of dedicated staff, partners and donors, we can address these challenges to help provide a food- and nutrition-secure future for all.

Message from the Director General

"As part of CIMMYT 50th anniversary celebrations, more than 500 distinguished representatives of diverse partner and donor institutions, among them 5 ministers of agriculture, took part in a 3-day conference to reflect on CIMMYT’s past and plan for the future. Outcomes are reflected in the Center’s new Strategic Plan 2017-2022. The strategy aims to better enable maize and wheat agri-food systems to produce more using less land and inputs, create sustainable livelihood opportunities for farmers, support healthy and nutritious diets, mitigate and adapt to climate change and foster equitable access for women and marginalized groups to knowledge, markets, technology and training."

Message from the Chair of the Board of Trustees

CIMMYT Trustees (left to right): Rita Mumm, Harry de Roo, Martin Kropff, William (Bill) Angus, Paul Struik (ICARDA), Nicole Birrell (Chair of the Board of Trustees), Neal Gutterson, Ramesh Chand, Feng Feng, Bob Semple, Bongiwe Njobe and Luis Fernando Flores Lui. Not pictured: Raúl Gerardo Obando Rodríguez and José Eduardo Calzada Rovirosa.

A year in review:

Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations, 10 relate directly to CIMMYT’s mandate. The SDGs have set the pathway for the next 15 years of agricultural, social and economic development. In this issue, SDG icons attached to each story help signal how CIMMYT’s work ties to the SDGs.

Changing climates, emerging threats:

New maize varieties bred to withstand extreme weather are helping farmers stay one step ahead of climate change in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite El Niño induced drought in Zimbabwe, this climate-smart maize has yielded twice as much as commercial varieties, helping farmers ensure household food security.

South Asia accounts for nearly a quarter of the world’s food production but has access to less than 5 percent of its annual renewable water resources. CIMMYT and partners are promoting ways to use South Asia’s precious water more carefully and productively.

Maize and wheat farmers worldwide are facing the emergence and spread of deadly crop diseases and pests. Science and partnerships are key to develop new resistant varieties for farmers.

Sustainable, nutritious futures:

Researchers and policymakers are promoting zero tillage for wheat to stop rice residue burning in northern India and help prevent smog in New Delhi, as well as to cut farmers’ costs and conserve soil and water resources.

An anti-wheat movement inspired by populist claims that gluten is bad for human health rumbles on, but scientists are now leading a strong campaign to refute trendy claims and promote the many nutritional benefits of wheat.

New CIMMYT maize hybrids are helping the Mexican maize seed industry upgrade its portfolio of products to better address the needs of smallholder farmers.

Conserving and utilizing crop diversity:

International seed banks serve as a backup for farmers and researchers in times of catastrophic seed loss by safeguarding crop genetic diversity. CIMMYT’s maize germplasm bank sent Guatemala hundreds of native maize varieties they had lost to natural disasters and other challenges.

In addition to safeguarding maize and wheat genetic diversity, CIMMYT works to help plant breeders and scientists describe, explore and use this genetic diversity to respond to the challenges of new diseases, heat and drought stresses affecting crops.

Turning research into impact

To mark 50 years of applying maize and wheat science to improve livelihoods, CIMMYT held events for celebration and reflection throughout 2016, including a momentous September gathering in Mexico.

CGIAR Research Programs on Maize and Wheat

The two CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) known as MAIZE and WHEAT and led by CIMMYT are international collaborations involving hundreds of partners worldwide. Following a successful initial period (2011-2016), both CRPs received CGIAR and donor approval for an additional phase.

CIMMYT - The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center - is the global leader in publicly-funded maize and wheat research and related farming systems. Headquartered near Mexico City, CIMMYT works with hundreds of partners throughout the developing world to sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat cropping systems, thus improving global food security and reducing poverty. CIMMYT is a member of the CGIAR System and leads the CGIAR Research Programs on Maize and Wheat and the Excellence in Breeding Platform. The Center receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies.

Editors-in-chief: Geneviève Renard, G. Michael Listman

Creative Director: Clyde R. Beaver III

Layout and Design: Bosen Zhou, Gerardo Mejía,

Infographics/Illustrations: Gerardo Mejía

Production Liaison: Marcelo Ortiz, Eliot Sánchez

Video Promotion: Silvia Rico, Carlos Alfonso Cortés

Writers/Editors: Ricardo Curiel, Jennifer Johnson, G. Michael Listman, Katie Lutz, Julie Mollins, Matthew O’Leary, Geneviève Renard, Katelyn Roett, Miriam Shindler

Contributors: Bekele Abeyo, Lone Badstue, Abdu Rahman Beshir , José Juan Caballero, Ernesto Coeto, K.C. Dilli, Olaf Erenstein, Kate Fehlenberg, Mina Lantican, Mauricio Malpica, Cynthia Mathys, Andrew McDonald, Kevin Pixley, Patti Petesch, B.M. Prasanna, Anuprita Shukla, Arturo Silva, George Williams

Photographers: Alfonso Cortés, Denise Costich, Bibiana Espinosa, Xochiquetzal Fonseca, Petr Kosina, Timothy Krupnik, Peter Lowe, Alfredo Sáenz, Miriam Shindler, Johnson Siamachira, Florence Sipalla, Gerardo Mejia, S. Mojumder Drik, Neil Palmer/CIAT, Nadia Rivera and CIMMYT archives

Slate production: Jennifer Johnson, Matthew O'Leary

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