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The CGIAR System Organization is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. CGIAR science is dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources and ecosystem services. Its research is carried out by 15 CGIAR centers, including CIMMYT.

Through CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs), Centers and partners work on integrated research programs, drawing on the expertise of other Centers and a multitude of partners. CIMMYT leads two major CRPs.

  • The CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) focuses on increasing production for 900 million poor consumers in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. Overarching goals include doubling maize productivity and increasing incomes and livelihood opportunities from sustainable, maize-based farming systems.
  • The CGIAR Research Program on Wheat (WHEAT) couples advanced science with field-level research and extension in lower- and middle-income countries to raise the productivity, production and affordable availability of wheat agri-food systems for 2.5 billion resource-poor consumers in 89 countries.

MAIZE and WHEAT support and draw upon decades-long CIMMYT research in maize and wheat breeding, cropping systems, genetic resources, and socioeconomics.

Following a successful initial period (2011-2016), both CRPs received CGIAR and donor approval for continued activities during 2017-2022.

Click here to view a full description of the CGIAR 2017-2022 research portfolio.

MAIZE and WHEAT are agri-food systems programs that work closely with three CGIAR cross-cutting, global integrating programs, within relevant agro-ecological systems:

  • Agriculture for Nutrition and Health. A4NH focuses on the consumption of healthy, affordable, and safe foods, rather than supply. Addressing serious micronutrient deficiencies in the countries where they work, MAIZE and WHEAT have contributed significantly through the development of biofortified crop varieties, including pro-Vitamin A enhanced maize and wheat with zinc-enhanced grain.
  • Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. CCAFS generates evidence and supports adoption of climate-smart agricultural policies, practices, and services that alleviate poverty, increase gender equity, and support sustainable landscapes. MAIZE and WHEAT contributions include drought and heat tolerant crop varieties and resource-conserving practices that help reduce emissions and allow farmers to adapt to climate change effects such as rising temperatures and more erratic rainfall.
  • Policies, Institutions, and Markets. PIM pursues research to support for policies that help poor farmers improve their lives; produce nutritious and affordable foods; and protect the soil, water, and biodiversity in rural landscapes. As part of this, MAIZE and WHEAT work to prioritize, target, understand, and enhance wheat and maize interventions and value chains to make the greatest impact.

The CGIAR portfolio for 2017-2022 includes three support platforms:

  • Platform for Big Data in Agriculture. A global leader in gathering, analyzing, and sharing agricultural data to empower researchers and mine information to develop rapid, accurate and compelling recommendations for farmers, researchers, and policymakers.
  • Excellence in Breeding Platform. Led by CIMMYT, this initiative helps to modernize breeding programs targeting the developing world for greater impact on food and nutrition security, climate change adaptation and development.
  • Genebank Platform. Helps to conserve and make available 750,000 accessions of crops and trees on behalf of the global community under the International Plant Treaty. It supports core genebank operations and activities to improve efficiency, enhance use and ensure compliance with international policy.

Latest CGIAR news

Food security
Press releases

Researchers in Zambia confirm the arrival of this devastating fungal disease to the African continent.


External review confirms the impact and achievements of the CGIAR Research Program on Wheat and its vital partnerships.

Food security
Annual reports

Innovation in maize agri-food systems is critical to overcoming this century’s challenges. In 2019, MAIZE partners released 82 CGIAR-derived high-yield maize varieties with drought-, heat- and disease-resistant traits.

Innovation and technology

The status quo anchors our minds to the past. Good change management can shake this up. Here are four ways plant breeding programs can ready themselves for the big changes we need to make.