Maize is grown as a staple crop often under highly variable, stress-prone conditions by some of the world’s poorest farmers.
They often have few options other than to obtain their food and income from agriculture. Achieving food security is the incentive for many to allocate a disproportionately large part of their land to maize, leaving little area to other crops such as legumes or cash crops. Human malnutrition and soil degradation are frequent and few escape the “poverty trap.”
CIMMYT is already seeing successes in implementing innovative approaches that generate stress tolerant, nutritious maize strains with significantly increased productivity under such harsh conditions.
They permit farmers to produce more and healthier food on a smaller land area, leaving more labor and land for growing soil-replenishing legumes or cash crops. We are enhancing this pioneering work and deploying it to a wide range of stress environments worldwide.