CIMMYT grew out of a pilot program sponsored by the Mexican government and the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1940s and 1950s aimed at raising farm productivity in Mexico. The wheat specialist in that program, Norman Borlaug, worked with Mexican researchers and farmers to develop hardier, short-stemmed wheat varieties that resisted devastating rust diseases and yielded much more grain than traditional varieties. The new wheat lines were bred and selected at various Mexican locations in a range of climate conditions, which meant they were adaptable to a range of farm settings. The higher yielding varieties helped Mexico attain self-sufficiency in wheat production in the 1950s. Additionally, the varieties were imported by India and Pakistan in the 1960s to stave off famine, soon bringing those countries record harvests. This led to the widespread adoption of improved varieties and farming practices, which became known as the “Green Revolution.” CIMMYT was formally launched as an international organization in 1966. Borlaug, who worked at CIMMYT as a wheat scientist and research leader until 1979, received the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize because, more than any other single person, he helped to provide bread for a hungry world. He remained a distinguished consultant for the center until his death in 2009.

Our history



CIMMYT is one of 15 independent, international, non-profit agricultural research organizations that make up the CGIAR. The centers are home to almost 10,000 scientists, researchers, technicians and staff working to create a food-secure future. CGIAR research is dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition and ensuring sustainable management of natural resources. Research is carried out by all 15 centers, in close collaboration with hundreds of partners including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations and the private sector. CGIAR scientists are recruited from around the world, and each center has its own charter, board of trustees, director general and staff. CGIAR centers are responsible for hands-on research programs and operations guided by policies and research directions established by the Consortium Board. Unparalleled in research infrastructure and global networks, CGIAR’s collections of genetic resources are the most comprehensive in the world. The CGIAR centers generate and disseminate knowledge, technologies and policies for agricultural development through the CGIAR Research Programs. The CGIAR Fund provides multi-year financing to enable research planning over the long term, resource allocation based on agreed priorities, the timely and predictable disbursement of funds. The multi-donor trust fund finances research carried out by the centers through the CGIAR Research Programs.

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