Investment in maize for Africa pays off

Investment in maize for Africa pays off

New report quantifies the impact of 20 years of CGIAR-led maize improvement for Africa.

BETWEEN 1995-2015, nearly 60% of all maize varieties released in 18 African countries were CGIAR-related.

At the end of this period, in 2015, almost half of the maize area in these countries grew CGIAR-related

maize varieties.

All that was accomplished through modest, maximum

yearly investment of about $30 million, which showed high returns: in 2015, the aggregate yearly economic benefits for using CGIAR-related maize varieties released after 1994 were estimated to be between $660

million and $1.05 billion.

These are just some of the key findings of Impacts of CGIAR Maize Improvement in sub-Saharan Africa, 1995-2015 a new, comprehensive review of the two decades of longstanding, CGIAR-led work on improved maize for Africa.

A staple concern

Since its introduction to Africa in the 16th century, maize has become one of the most important food crops in the continent.

It accounts for almost a third of the calories consumed in sub-Saharan Africa. And it’s grown on over 38 million hectares in the region, mostly by

rainfall-dependent smallholder farmers.

Climate change poses an existential threat to the millions who depend on the crop for their livelihood or for their next meal.

Already 65% of the maize growing areas in sub-Saharan Africa face some level of drought stress.

Long-term commitment

Through the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, CIMMYT, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), CGIAR has been working alongside countless regional partners since the 1980s to develop and deploy climate-smart maize varieties in Africa.


– Apr. 07, 2021 @ 17:10 GMT


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