Maize crop improvement has historically been one of IITA’s top areas of research with accomplishments such as the remarkable success with the development of Striga-resistant varieties. More recently, IITA scientists have developed high-yielding and disease-resistant varieties that are adaptable to sub-Saharan Africa’s various agroecological zones.

Early, intermediate, and late maturing varieties have been created with yields up to twice as much as original varieties. Early maturing varieties in particular enabled maize production to expand into new areas, such as the Sudanese savannah where the short rainy season has adversely affected maize cultivation in the past.