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

Nutrition, health and food security
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.


Case studies from Ethiopia and Rwanda show adaptable fertilizer rates may help tree-based smallholder farmers, thus providing them with options to cope with COVID-19-imposed fertilizer shortages.

Gender equality, youth and social inclusion

Income-generating benefits of improved maize varieties hampered by patriarchal gender norms in rural Nigeria.


CIMMYT scientist applies genomics in maize breeding to achieve higher genetic gains.

Nutrition, health and food security

Researchers in Ethiopia show that well-targeted fertilizer recommendations improve fertilizer usage and productivity of maize production.

Gender equality, youth and social inclusion

7 ways to make small-scale mechanization work for African farmers.

Climate adaptation and mitigation

Interest in farm machinery and crop diversification spike as farmers respond to COVID-19 labor shortages.

Nutrition, health and food security
Press releases

Portal will encourage rapid, iterative experimentation and global teamwork to address spread and impact of the invasive crop pest.


CIMMYT’s work may begin with seeds, but our innovations support farmers at all stages of the value chain.

Gender equality, youth and social inclusion

The two-wheel tractor has proven its worth in Africa’s smallholder farms thanks to the FACASI project.

Gender equality, youth and social inclusion

New study presents a typology of women’s decision-making in wheat in India.

Research Technician

Field Auxiliary

Assistant Research Associate