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