MAIZE Annual Report 2019

Message from the MAIZE Director

Around the world, the COVID-19 crisis has emphasized the need to strengthen food systems while improving the food security and livelihoods for the most vulnerable, especially the resource-constrained smallholder farmers.

In 2019, the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) made great advances in the development of improved stress-tolerant maize varieties, with enhanced genetic gain and novel genetic diversity and tools. National partners and seed companies across Africa, Latin America and Asia released 82 unique CGIAR-derived maize varieties. In addition to high yield, these elite varieties are stacked with multiple traits needed by the smallholder farmers to protect their crops from drought, heat and diseases. These MAIZE varieties also included nine nutritionally-enriched varieties with improved protein quality, provitamin A and high kernel zinc.

MAIZE partners have continued their battle against fall armyworm in both Africa and Asia on several fronts, including awareness creation and capacity development on integrated pest management (IPM) based fall armyworm control through various stakeholder workshops, intensive research on breeding for native genetic resistance to the pest, agro-ecological management, and assessment of the economic impact of the pest in selected countries in Africa.

From research on value chains and improved nutrition to conservation agriculture and scale appropriate mechanization, MAIZE in 2019 continued to focus on sustainable intensification of maize-based cropping systems in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America where maize plays a critical role in food and nutritional security, income and livelihoods of millions of resource-constrained smallholders and consumers.

This work is only possible through the generous and continued support from our funders, in particular, the CGIAR Window 1 and 2 funding, besides several Window 3/bilateral projects. MAIZE receives W1&W2 support from the Governments of Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (DFID), United States (USAID) and the World Bank.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all the MAIZE partners, funders and stakeholders for their active participation, hard work, and support, especially during these challenging times. As we look back upon our outcomes and achievements in 2019 in this Annual Report, we must also look towards the current events associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the present and likely impacts on maize-based agri-food systems especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia. MAIZE continues its deepest commitment to work together with our partners towards a more food secure future for all.

Stress tolerant maize adoption provides proven benefits to farming families

In 2019, the Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project continued to work to ensure that farmers in target countries could access improved, drought tolerant maize seeds. Over 87,000 metric tons of certified seed of stress tolerant maize varieties were commercialized in 2019, benefiting 6.73 million rural households.

Keeping the fall armyworm at bay: Asia tackles the pest from all angles

When a caterpillar munched through Muhammad Hasan Ali’s maize field in 2018, he was stumped as to what it was or how he could manage the voracious pest. All this Bangladeshi farmer knew was that his harvest and family’s income security were at risk.

Sustainable Intensification: A global approach

Around the world, MAIZE and its partners are helping farmers adopt sustainable intensification practices to improve yields without adverse environmental impact. Under the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) project in Bangladesh, a total of 59,166 farmers implemented crop management practices recommended by the project and its partners on 17,113 hectares in 2019.

More options for farmers: Blue maize varieties with improved yield and nutrition

While many consumers are only familiar with white or yellow maize, native maize from Mexico and Latin America can come in a dazzling array of colors, including blue, red, or purple kernels. These deeper-hued varieties are gaining popularity around the world for their delicious taste and added health benefits, but are cultivated mainly by smallholder farmers on small plots of land, making it difficult to meet large-scale consumer demand.

MAIZE Youth Innovators Awards 2019: Africa and Latin America

The MAIZE Youth Innovators Awards were held in Africa and Latin America in 2019 to recognize the contributions of young women and men under 35 who are implementing innovations in maize-based agri-food systems, including research for development, seed systems, agribusiness, and sustainable intensification. First launched in Asia in 2018, these awards are part of the efforts that the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) is undertaking to promote youth participation in maize agri-food systems.

Financial Summary

*Including 2018 carryover, 2019 budget at $9.4 million

MAIZE greatly appreciates the contributions of all Window 1 and Window 2 funding partners for their support during Phase I through the CGIAR Fund. Without these donors MAIZE work in Phase I (2012-2016) and Phase II (2017-2022 ongoing) would not have been possible.

The CGIAR Research Program on MAIZE (MAIZE) is an international collaboration between more than 300 partners that seeks to mobilize global resources in maize research and development to achieve a greater strategic impact on maize-based farming systems in Africa, South Asia and Latin America.

Led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) as its main CGIAR partner, MAIZE focuses on increasing maize production for the 900 million poor consumers for whom maize is a staple food in Africa, South Asia and Latin America. MAIZE’s overarching goal is to double maize productivity and increase incomes and livelihood opportunities from sustainable maize-based farming systems.

Writers and Editors: Jennifer Johnson, Victor Kommerell, Matthew O'Leary, B.M. Prasanna

Contributors: Ricardo Curiel, Olaf Erenstein, Bruno Gerard, Bram Govaerts, Timothy J. Krupnik, Joshua Masinde, Abebe Menkir, Terence Molnar, Natalia Palacios, Kevin Pixley, B.M. Prasanna, José Luis Torres, Jelle Van Loon, Claudia Velasco, Martha Wilcox

Photos: Jerome Bossuet/CIMMYT, Alfonso Cortés, CIMMYT Archives, Georg Goergen/IITA, Jennifer Johnson, Peter Lowe

Infographics and maps: Jennifer Johnson and Nancy Valtierra

Spark production: Jennifer Johnson