Annual Report 2016

During 2016, the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) made strong progress on both of its research strategies, stress resilient and nutritious maize, and sustainable intensification of maize-based systems. In total, 111 improved maize varieties based on germplasm from MAIZE lead centers, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), were released through MAIZE partners in 2016. These include 76 in sub-Saharan Africa, 27 in Latin America and 8 in Asia. Besides high and stable yield potential, some of the special traits stacked in these varieties include drought tolerance, nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), tar spot complex (TSC) resistance, Quality Protein Maize (QPM), increased provitamin A content (through the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health - A4NH), ear rot or mycotoxin resistance and Turcicum leaf blight resistance, among others.

*Improved maize varieties released by MAIZE partners in 2016, with depiction of some special traits. The map includes eight provitamin-A enriched varieties based on MAIZE germplasm that were released under A4NH CRP in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa (1 in Mexico, 7 Mali,3 in DRC, and 1 in Nigeria) in 2016.

Over 5.5 million hectares were under improved MAIZE-derived technologies or management practices in 2016 as a result of CRP research; directly reaching more than 11 million smallholder farmers. As we transition into Phase II (2017-2022), MAIZE remains committed to finding sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by smallholder farmers around the world. From emerging pests and diseases such as fall armyworm and maize lethal necrosis, to drought and heat stress that threaten livelihoods and food security, MAIZE and partners are working together to help farmers feed our growing population under a changing climate. We would like to extend our deepest thanks to our donors, without whom none of this work would be possible.

Thank you to all who have supported and followed our work throughout Phase I (2012-2016), we look forward to sharing our updates and achievements with you in the years to come.

B.M. Prasanna,

Director, CGIAR Research Program MAIZE

Stress-tolerant maize for future climates:

Searing heat across South Asia has critically damaged crops and destabilized food security in the region. MAIZE scientists are working to develop and deploy heat- and drought-tolerant maize varieties specific to the region for the vulnerable smallholder farmers that need them most.

To enhance the climate resilience of smallholder farming requires a mix of interventions, including new technologies as well as institutional innovations. Stress-tolerant maize varieties must form a central part of the mix, providing farmers with tangible insurance against crop losses.

Improving lives and livelihoods:

Climate change and land degradation affect countries across the world, reducing crop yields and destabilizing food security. Scientists are working to use climate smart technologies and drought-tolerant maize varieties in conjunction to mitigate climate change and increase yields for vulnerable smallholder farmers.

MAIZE and partners are working to help smallholder farmers market their maize to national and international buyers at a fair price, improving lives and livelihoods while giving farmers stronger incentives to conserve valuable genetic resources in their fields.

Improved maize varieties and agricultural practices are changing the lives of female farmers and their families in the remote and deeply impoverished tribal village of Badbil in the state of Odisha, India.

Emerging pests and diseases:

MAIZE scientists have made exciting progress against MLN in 2016 on many fronts, from developing and deploying MLN tolerant varieties to the development of innovative technologies, such as standardized MLN survey and sampling protocols and digital surveillance tools.

The root parasitic weed Striga, also known as ‘witch weed’ or ‘violet vampire’ due to its deceptively beautiful purple flowers, is a pervasive and recalcitrant problem of cereal-based systems in many parts of Africa.

Food security in sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly at risk due to the rapid spread of maize pests in the region, which are destroying crops and causing significant losses to farmers. MAIZE and partners are committed to working to find appropriate and sustainable solutions to these new threats.

Financial Highlights

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/Editors: Bianca Beks, Jennifer Johnson, Dave Watson

Contributors: Tahirou Abdoulaye, Bruce Anani, Anuradha Dhar, Olaf Erenstein, Melaku Gedil, Kostandini Genti, Bruno Gerard, Wasim Iftikar, Cynthia Mathys, Abebe Menkir, Terence Molnar, Stephen Mugo, B.M. Prasanna, Manuele Tamò, Christian Thierfelder, B.S. Vivek, Brenda Wawa, Martha Willcox, P.H. Zaidi

Photos: CIMMYT archives, Wasim Iftikar, IITA archives, Jennifer Johnson, Srikanth Kolari, Peter Lowe, Johnson Siamachira, Christian Thierfelder, Brenda Wawa

Infographics and maps: Gerardo Mejía, Jennifer Johnson

Spark production: Jennifer Johnson

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