CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE)

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, Latin America and South Asia.

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, Latin America and South Asia. MAIZE’s overarching goal is to double maize productivity and increase incomes and livelihood opportunities from sustainable maize-based farming systems.

MAIZE receives funding support from CGIAR Trust Fund contributors.

MAIZE Flagship Projects (FPs) and Cluster of Activities

FP1: Enhancing MAIZE’s R4D strategy for impact
• Foresight and targeting of R4D strategies
• Learning from M&E, adoption and impacts
• Enhancing gender and social inclusiveness
• Value chain analysis

FP2: Novel diversity and tools for improving genetic gains
• Informatics, database management and decision support tools
• Development of enabling tools for germplasm improvement
• Unlocking genetic diversity through trait exploration and gene discovery
• Pre-breeding: development of germplasm resources

FP3: Stress-tolerant and nutritious maize
• Climate resilient maize with abiotic and biotic stress tolerance
• Tackling emerging trans-boundary disease/pest challenges
• Nutritional quality and end-use traits in elite genetic backgrounds
• Precision phenotyping and mechanization of breeding operations
• Seed production research and recommendations
• Stronger maize seed systems

FP4: Sustainable intensification of maize-based systems
• Multi-scale farming system framework to better integrate and enhance adoption of sustainable intensification options
• Participatory adoption and integration of technological components
• Development and field-testing of crop management technologies
• Partnership and collaborations models for scaling


The results of this study will allow breeders to optimize dual purpose maize varieties to sustainably feed people and their livestock.


New lines of CIMMYT-derived maize show increased resistance to maize lethal necrosis (MLN) disease. Their rapid adoption, along with sustained monitoring and prevention efforts, are crucial to preventing another outbreak, argues a new report.


Assessing the approach’s potential and limitations for strengthening the livelihoods of the rural poor, a new book draws conclusions applicable across the development field.


Breakthrough comes after three years of intensive research and trials conducted in Kenya — and during the United Nations International Year of Plant Health — and represents a significant advance in the global fight against fall armyworm.


Improved maize varieties among top three CGIAR innovations adopted by up to 11 million households in Ethiopia, independent study shows.


National breeding programs prepped to measure – and boost – genetic gains.


Celebrating whole grains as an integral part of healthy, sustainable — and delicious — diets.


CIMMYT maize and wheat quality experts explain the importance of whole grains for healthy diets.


Study explores how gender norms and intra-household dynamics shape women’s demand articulation for labor-saving technologies.


Two-year study reveals techniques to strengthen Mexican smallholder farmers’ food security.


As the pest continues to cause damage to farmers’ fields, CIMMYT trained national agricultural partners on integrated pest management.


The testing and learning platform is working to tackle issues from adulterated seeds to crop residue burning.

Nutrition, health and food security

We need to make sure our food systems grow a variety of food to nourish a growing population and sustain the planet.

In the media

Source: Seed World (1 Oct 2020)

CIMMYT’s seed bank preserves the genetic diversity of maize and wheat so the crops can adapt to a changing production environment.

Nutrition, health and 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.