The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research has begun a new global initiative that would broaden and speed up research into maize, a preferred staple food source of more than 900 million people in 94 developing countries.
The initiative was recently launched at a ceremony commemorating CGIAR’s 40th anniversary in Washington, D.C.
The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture would implement the program, which is expected to directly benefit 40 million smallholder farm family members by 2020 and 175 million by 2030.
“Small holder farmers are among the most vulnerable people in developing countries,” Inger Andersen, World Bank vice president of sustainable development and CGIAR Fund Council chairwoman, said.
“They should be among the first we seek to help. Enabling these people to produce more and better maize quickly and reliably will help to ensure their well being, as well as that of their communities.”