Annual Report 2017

Message from the MAIZE Director

In 2017, 79 improved maize varieties were released by MAIZE partners worldwide, including 26 in Latin America, 44 in Sub-Saharan Africa and 9 in Asia. These varieties are based on use of CGIAR lines from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Some of the special traits stacked in these varieties include drought and heat tolerance, nitrogen use efficiency, enhanced protein quality, high kernel zinc and resistance to diseases of regional or global importance, such as maize lethal necrosis (MLN), tar spot complex (TSC), and resistance to the parasitic weed, Striga.

Elite maize varieties released by MAIZE CRP partners in 2017, with depiction of key traits.

The fall armyworm (FAW), a devastating insect-pest from the Americas, continues its march across sub-Saharan Africa. MAIZE has been working closely with international, regional and national partners to produce a comprehensive technical guide on the integrated FAW management.

The MAIZE team is also working intensively to curb the spread and impact of maize lethal necrosis (MLN) in sub-Saharan Africa through the development and deployment of MLN-resistant maize hybrids, besides strengthening the capacities of national plant protection organizations across sub-Saharan Africa on MLN diagnostics and management. The rapid response to MLN and ongoing intensive efforts against FAW highlight MAIZE’s expertise and partnerships to counter the present and future pest/disease challenges in the tropics.

The release of second-generation tropicalized haploid inducers (CIM2GTAILs) and the use of over 93,0000 doubled haploid (DH) lines in maize breeding programs in Latin America, Africa and South Asia have great potential to increase genetic gains for tropical breeding programs.

Sustainable intensification in maize based systems has yielded excellent results. MAIZE researchers found compelling research evidence on the multiple benefits of conservation agriculture and argued that it should be included as one of the major technology packages in Ethiopia’s national agricultural extension system.

In “Gender and innovation processes in maize-based systems,” a report from the GENNOVATE initiative to MAIZE, researchers found that improved maize seeds ranked as among the two most important agricultural innovations to have come into their communities for both women and men.

I wish to thank MAIZE partners, funders and stakeholders for their continued support and participation. Without the generous support of our funders, MAIZE could not tackle emerging challenges such as maize pests and diseases or climate variability. The CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) receives W1&W2 support from the Governments of Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, US and the World Bank.

We thank you for reading this Annual Report, and look forward to sharing our updates and achievements with you in the years to come.

B.M. Prasanna

Director of the CGIAR Agri-Food Systems Research Program on Maize

Fall Armyworm

The battle continues

The fall armyworm (FAW), a devastating insect- pest from the Americas, continues its march across sub-Saharan Africa. Throughout 2017, MAIZE has worked closely with international, regional and national partners on a variety of fronts to tackle the challenge.

MLN gene editing and pre-breeding

MAIZE and partners have worked tirelessly to prevent the spread and mitigate the impact of maize lethal necrosis (MLN) disease since its discovery in Kenya in 2011. In the present, researchers are working to develop maize varieties with resistance to MLN using cutting-edge technologies and techniques to provide relief to farmers facing the disease.

Optimizing sustainable intensification in Asia

Achievements of the CSISA initiative in 2017

Researchers and extension agents of the USAID supported Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA), a project aligned with MAIZE, made significant progress in 2017. Initiatives aimed at improving agricultural production and standards of living for farmers in South Asia were developed and implemented.

Doubled haploids for a faster breeding cycle

Doubled haploids and second generation tropicalized haploid inducers

The use of doubled haploid (DH) technology and release of second generation tropicalized haploid inducers by CIMMYT have allowed breeders to greatly reduce the time and cost associated with the development of improved maize lines. Over 93,0000 DH lines were developed from 455 populations and delivered by CIMMYT in 2017 to maize breeding programs in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

How do gender ‘norms’ affect innovation in maize-based systems?

Findings of the GENNOVATE report to MAIZE

A new report from GENNOVATE, a cross-CRP, global comparative research initiative, examines how local women’s and men’s expected roles and behaviors (norms) and social rules affect people's ability to access, adopt and benefit from innovations in maize-based farming.

Seeds of hope

Reducing malnutrition in Haiti

In 2017, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) with support from MAIZE sent 150 tons of new and improved maize seed to Haiti to jumpstart the development of the country’s maize seed sector, improve local food security, and decrease malnutrition. This was the largest seed shipment to any country in CIMMYT’s history.

Translating research into impact

Over its lifespan, MAIZE, in collaboration with partner organizations, has produced a broad range of innovations, such as climate-resilient crops, sustainable land use practices, farm mechanization options and effective extension services, which have significant potential to improve livelihoods and foster more productive, sustainable maize farming. But ensuring research and its outcomes reach a meaningful number of farmers to have a widespread impact is challenging.

Financial Summary

Total: U.S. $10,219,000

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/Editors: Jennifer Johnson and Carolyn Cowan

Contributors: Lone Badstue, Vijay Chaikam, Alberto Chassaigne, Kanwarpal Dhugga, Olaf Erenstein, Melaku Gedil, Bruno Gerard, Georg Goergen, Huntington Hobbs, Victor Kommerell, Tim Krupnik, Terry Molnar, Aaron Pillado, Kevin Pixley, B.M. Prasanna, Arturo Silva, L.M. Suresh, Ghislain Tepa-Yotto, Claudia Velasco.

Photos: CIMMYT, Alberto Chassaigne, M. DeFreese, G. Goergen, IITA, Peter Lowe, Ranak Martin, Joshua Masinde, Florence Sipalla.

Infographics and maps: Jennifer Johnson, Gerardo Mejia, Eliot Sanchez and Vijay Chaikam.

Spark production: Carolyn Cowan and Jennifer Johnson

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