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Affordable, Accessible Asian (AAA) Drought Tolerant Maize Project

Smallholder maize farmers in marginal environments in Asia are prone to drought due to either scanty/erratic rainfall or falling groundwater levels.

The Affordable, Accessible, Asian (AAA) Drought Tolerant Maize Project is a partnership among CIMMYT, the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, national agricultural research systems of Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam to develop drought-tolerant maize for smallholder farmers in Asia.

AAA combines complementary technologies and comparative advantages, such as CIMMYT’s global expertise in drought-tolerant maize breeding, Syngenta’s elite germplasm bred for Asia, the national partners’ local knowledge of farmers’ requirements and their germplasm testing network.

This project covers a gamut of upstream and downstream activities: marker discovery (genome-wide association studies); trait discovery (understanding root structure and function-lysimetrics); marker applications (genomic selection); drought phenotyping facilities (rhizotronics, rain-out shelters; managed drought stress screening locations); germplasm development; hybrid deployment; and linking with potential hybrid commercialization partners.


  • Validation of drought-tolerant genetic markers
  • Rhizotronics studies reveal importance of root functional traits in determining drought tolerance
  • Genomic selection is proving to be a powerful strategy for developing improved source populations
  • Promising results from hybrid trials in India and Indonesia indicate the value of this innovative partnership model

Funding Institutions

  • Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA)

Principal Coordinator

Bindiganavile Sampath Vivek