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Heat Stress Tolerant Maize for Asia (HTMA)

The Heat Stress Tolerant Maize (HTMA) for Asia project is a public-private alliance that targets resource-poor people and smallholder farmers in South Asia who face weather extremes and climate-change effects. HTMA aims to create stable income and food security for resource-poor maize farmers in South Asia through development and deployment of heat-resilient maize hybrids.

South Asian farmlands have been increasingly experiencing climate change-related weather extremes. If current trends persist until 2050, major crop yields and the food production capacity of South Asia will decrease significantly – by 17 percent for maize – due to climate change-induced heat and water stress.

In response, CIMMYT and partners are developing heat stress-resilient maize for Asia. The project leverages the germplasm base and technical expertise of CIMMYT in breeding for abiotic stress tolerance, coupled with the research capacity and expertise of partners.


  • Future climate data obtained from the recent CIMP5 database, and future and current heat stress hot-spots in South Asia are mapped
  • Genome-wide association studies revealed multiple haplotypes significantly associated heat tolerance, including nine significant haplotype blocks (~200 kb) for grain yield explaining 4 to 12% phenotypic variation individually with the effect size varied up to 440 kg/ha.
  • A total of 17 first generation heat tolerant hybrids formally licenced to project partners for deployment and scale-out in their targeted geographies/market in stress-prone ecologies of South Asia
  • New base germplasm, including early generation lines and pedigree populations, with enhanced levels of heat tolerance shared with partners to use in their own breeding programs.
  • Over 130 maize researchers and technical staff from India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, including 32 women and 99 men, were trained on various aspects of developing stress-resilient maize through four training course workshops organized under the project.
  • Strong phenotyping network for heat stress in South Asia, with well-equipped locations and trained representatives.


  • United States Agency for International Development – Feed the Future


Pervez Haider Zaidi