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
Climate adaptation and mitigation

Leonard Rusinamhodzi works with African farmers to innovate farming systems in the face of climate change.

Climate adaptation and mitigation

New insurance products geared towards smallholder farmers can help them recover their losses, and even encourage investment in climate-resilient innovations.


People who eat whole grain foods have a lower risk of almost all chronic diseases and are less likely to gain weight as they age, according to nutritionist Julie Miller Jones.

Nutrition, health and food security

The new maize lethal necrosis online portal provides up-to-date information and surveillance tools to help researchers control and stop the spread of the deadly disease.


CIMMYT scientists will present at the COP 13 conference on a new collection of tools and resources that could revolutionize maize breeding and promote genetic diversity conservation.