Message from the Chair of the



Message from the




from around the world


from around the world


The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and AGROSAVIA, Colombia’s leading not-for-profit organization for agricultural research and technology transfer, signed a five-year agreement aiming to boost maize production.

CIMMYT is providing AGROSAVIA’s breeding program with 2,000 advanced lines — developed by combining native maize from Colombia with conventionally improved maize — to support the development of varieties adapted to the country’s farming conditions and promote sustainable intensification technologies and practices among Colombian farmers.


A new early warning system, the first of its kind to be implemented in a developing country, allowed policymakers and farmers across Ethiopia to forecast wheat rust up to a week in advance.

Developed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the University of Cambridge, the UK Met Office, the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), and the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), the system creates advance forecast models for wheat rust spore dispersal and environmental suitability based on disease presence. These are fed into an early warning unit that receives daily updates automatically and sends weekly advisory reports to development agents, national authorities, researchers, and farmers. This early warning system puts Ethiopia at the forefront of early warning systems for wheat rust.


Researchers from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) have been testing alternative technologies for seed drying in the highlands of northwestern Guatemala.

In 2019 they began experimenting with the use of drying beads in community seed reserves in three maize producing communities, where humidity levels in storage areas can be as high as 100%. When stored with seed inside a hermetically-sealed flask, these marble-sized ceramic beads act as desiccators, absorbing moisture from the container.

Results from initial testing showed that seeds stored with the beads typically had a near 100% germination rate, and seedlings were more uniform. Seeds stored without the beads — whether in a traditional mesh bag or a hermetic flask — were significantly less likely to be viable, as they were exposed to outside elements or trapped humidity within the flasks.

Following the publication of results, the team hopes to scale out the use of this technology across all seed reserves in the area.


The Borlaug Institute for South Asia-Punjab Agricultural University (BISA-PAU) joint team received several awards in 2019 for their work on rice residue management using the Super Straw Management System (Super SMS).

Developed and recommended by researchers in 2016, the Super SMS is an attachment for self-propelled combine harvesters offering an innovative solution to paddy residue management in rice-wheat systems.

The Super SMS allows farmers to recycle residues on-site, reducing the need for residue burning and thereby reducing environmental pollution and improving soil health. It helps to spread rice residue uniformly, which is essential for the efficient use of Happy Seeder technology and maintaining soil moisture in the field.


The CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) announced the winners of the 2019 MAIZE Youth Innovators Awards – Africa at an awards ceremony in Lusaka, Zambia. These awards recognize the contributions of young women and men to innovation in African maize-based agri-food systems, including research for development, agribusiness, and sustainable intensification.

Five award recipients were invited to attend the Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project meeting in Lusaka, where they had the opportunity to present their work, network and exchange experiences with MAIZE researchers and partners.

© 2020 International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
We would like to thank all funders who supported this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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Rodrigo Ordóñez, Geneviève Renard
Project coordination
Alison Doody, Emma Orchardson
Art directors
Clyde R. Beaver III, Alfonso Cortés, Nancy Valtierra
Layout and design
Nancy Valtierra
Web development
Ricardo López
Graphics and illustrations
Ángel Eduardo Aguilar, Clyde R. Beaver III, Alfonso Cortés, Marcelo Ortiz, Eliot Sánchez,
Nancy Valtierra
Writers and editors
Ricardo Curiel, Leslie Domínguez, Mary Donovan, Alison Doody, Jennifer Johnson, G. Michael Listman, Marcia MacNeil, Marta Millere, Matthew O’Leary, Emma Orchardson, Samuel Storr
Ricardo Ampudia, Lone Badstue, Hans Braun, Johanna Braun, José Juan Caballero Flores, Denise Costich, Susanne Dreisigacker, Andrea Gardeazabal Monsalue, Elias Garcia, Bram Govaerts, Filippo Guzzon, Jesús Herrera, M.L. Jat, Victor Kommerell, Timothy J. Krupnik, Jean-Flavien Le Besque, Joshua Masinde, Terence Molnar, Dina Najjar, Natalia Palacios, Thomas Payne, Kevin Pixley, B.M. Prasanna, Michael Quinn, Rajiv Kumar Sharma, H.S. Sidhu, José Luis Torres, Martha Wilcox, MAIZE Independent Steering Committee (ISC), WHEAT Independent Steering Committee (ISC)
Alfonso Cortés, Georg Goergen/IITA, Uttam Kumar, Peter Lowe, Johnson Siamachira, Love Kumar Singh/BISA, Sam Storr, CIMMYT Archives
Correct citation
CIMMYT. 2020. Seeds of change. CIMMYT Annual Report 2019. CDMX, Mexico: CIMMYT.
AGROVOC descriptors:
Maize; Wheat; Plant breeding; Genetic resources; Innovation adoption; Plant biotechnology; Seed production; Food security; Sustainability; Research policies; Economic analysis; Cropping systems; Agricultural research; Organization of research; Developing countries. Additional Keywords: CIMMYT. AGRIS category codes: A50 Agricultural Research; A01 Agriculture– General Aspects. Dewey decimal classification: 630

© International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), 2020. All rights reserved. The designations employed in the presentation of materials in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of CIMMYT or its contributory organizations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city, or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. CIMMYT encourages fair use of this material. Proper citation is requested.


Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
Colombian Agricultural Research Corporation (Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria)
Agricultural Transformation Agency
Borlaug Institute in South Asia
Breeding Advanced Programming Interface
CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security
International Center for Tropical Agriculture
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
CGIAR Research Program
Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia
Central Soil Salinity Research Institute
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research
CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform
Farm Mechanization and Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification
Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations
Indian Council of Agricultural Research
International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas
International Food Policy Research Institute
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
International Institute for Tropical Agriculture
Mexico's National Forestry, Crops and Livestock Research Institute (Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias)
International Rice Research Institute
CGIAR Research Program on Maize
Middle East and North Africa
Millennium Development Goals
Open Data Kit
Open-pollinated variety
Polyethylene terephthalate
CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets
Research and Development
Mexico's Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (Secretaría de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural)
Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable Development Solutions Network
Straw Management System
Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa
Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics
United Nations
United States Agency for International Development
CGIAR Research Program on Wheat

Sustainable Development Goals

On September 24, 2013, the newly formed United Nations (UN) High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development held its first meeting. At the Rio+20 Conference, Member States also agreed to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were to build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were established in 2000 and expired in 2015.

Of the 17 individual goals, 10 relate directly to CGIAR activities and to CIMMYT’s mandate. The SDGs have set the pathway for the next 15 years of agricultural, social, and economic development. Likewise, CGIAR has transformed its approach to ensure that its work aligns with the ambitious goals.

CIMMYT, through its research for development activities, is working toward a world free of poverty, hunger, and environmental degradation. CIMMYT and CGIAR efforts help bring the world closer to reaching the goals, such as the empowerment of women, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and the improvement of health and nutrition for the world’s poorest people.

CIMMYT’s work contributes to the following SDGs:


CIMMYT — the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center — is the global leader in publicly-funded maize and wheat research and related farming systems. Headquartered near Mexico City, CIMMYT works with hundreds of partners throughout the developing world to sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat cropping systems, thus improving global food security and reducing poverty. CIMMYT is a member of the CGIAR System and leads the CGIAR Research Programs on Maize and Wheat and the Excellence in Breeding Platform. The Center receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies.

For more information, visit