Impact of CGIAR maize germplasm in Sub-Saharan Africa
This study reports on the adoption and impacts of CGIAR-related maize varieties in 18 major maize-producing countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) during 1995–2015. Of the 1345 maize varieties released during this timeframe, approximately 60% had a known CGIAR parentage. About 34% (9.5 million ha) of the total maize area in 2015 was cultivated with ‘new’ CGIAR-related maize varieties released between 1995 and 2015. In the same year, an additional 13% of the maize area was cultivated with ‘old’ CGIAR-related maize varieties released before 1995. The aggregate annual economic benefit of using new CGIAR-related maize germplasm for yield increase in SSA was estimated at US$1.1–1.6 billion in 2015, which we attributed equally to co-investments by CGIAR funders, public-sector national research and extension programs, and private sector partners. Given that the annual global investment in CGIAR maize breeding at its maximum was US$30 million, the benefit-cost ratios for the CGIAR investment and CGIAR-attributable portion of economic benefits varied from 12:1–17:1, under the assumption of a 5-year lag in the research investment to yield returns. The study also discusses the methodological challenges involved in large-scale impact assessments. Post-2015 CGIAR tropical maize breeding efforts have had a strong emphasis on stress tolerance.