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Maize research

CIMMYT develops and distributes improved maize inbred lines and hybrids to partners worldwide. This work improves the food security, incomes and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers and their families in the tropics and subtropics of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The objectives of CIMMYT’s maize breeding and seed systems work are to:

  • Develop genetically diverse, high-yielding maize inbred lines and hybrids, combining multiple-stress tolerance, nutrient use efficiency, enhanced nutritional quality, and desirable seed production properties for target production zones.
  • Accelerate the rate at which the genetic potential for maize yields increases each year and improve the efficiency of maize breeding operations, through integrated application of modern tools and technologies.
  • Deploy CIMMYT-derived improved maize varieties in the tropics through public-private partnerships, while strengthening local maize seed production and delivery systems.
  • Build local capacity — particularly of women and youth — in maize breeding and seed systems through training and knowledge exchange.

CIMMYT’s maize breeding work aims at developing easy-to-produce, best-bet hybrids, elite maize lines, and improved open-pollinated varieties, as well as science-based recommendations for varietal targeting and improved productivity in target regions.

In addition to higher grain yield, CIMMYT’s maize breeding teams focus on:

  • Yield stability in stress-prone environments, through tolerance to drought, heat, and poorly fertile soils.
  • Resistance to major diseases, insect pests, and parasitic weeds.
  • Enhanced nutritional qualities, such as provitamin A, high-kernel zinc, and quality protein maize.

This work is supported by cutting-edge tools and technologies, including doubled haploids, molecular markers and high-throughput field-based phenotyping.

CIMMYT’s research and work on maize breeding and seed systems is accomplished through strong public-private partnerships.

Contact

Profile image for B.M. Prasanna

B.M. Prasanna

Director of CIMMYT's Global Maize Program and the CGIAR Research Program on Maize

Profile image for Nicholas Davis

Nicholas Davis

Program Manager

Profile image for Aparna Das

Aparna Das

Technical Program Manager

Profile image for Reymunda Labuguen

Reymunda Labuguen

Program Finance Manager, Global Maize Program

Team members

Profile image for Jill Cairns

Jill Cairns

Maize Physiologist

Profile image for Cosmos Magorokosho

Cosmos Magorokosho

Maize Breeder and Country Representative for Zimbabwe

Profile image for Stephen Mugo

Stephen Mugo

Maize Breeder, Regional Representative for Africa and Country Representative for Kenya

Profile image for Mike Olsen

Mike Olsen

Maize Trait Pipeline and Upstream Research Coordinator

Profile image for Natalia Palacios Rojas

Natalia Palacios Rojas

Maize Quality Specialist

Profile image for Felix San Vicente

Felix San Vicente

Maize Breeder

Profile image for Arturo Silva Hinojosa

Arturo Silva Hinojosa

Seed Systems Lead for Africa and Latin America

Profile image for Yunbi Xu

Yunbi Xu

Maize Molecular Breeder

Profile image for P.H. Zaidi

P.H. Zaidi

Maize Physiologist

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