|Mobilizing science for global food security. Fourth External Review of CIMMYT (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research ). (1998)|
|Chapter 2 - Commodity Programmes|
|2.2 Maize Programme|
Four centre-commissioned reviews have been conducted of subprogrammes or breeding methods in the Maize Programme over the past five years. These included reviews of (1) maize international testing and population improvement, 1992, (2) subtropical mid-altitude and highland maize subprogramme, 1993, (3) lowland tropical maize subprogramme, 1994, and (4) breeding strategies and methodologies of CIMMYT's Maize Programme, 1995. All of these reviews focused on the quality, efficiency, and improvement of CIMMYT's maize breeding research.
The first CCER related to the need for clustering populations by heterotic groups, to accommodate hybrids in international trials, to identify "key site" locations, and to improve coordination between Headquarters and regional programmes. An integrated system for managing trial data was also proposed. The second CCER made recommendations on testing environments for population improvement and line extraction, special populations (drought tolerance and insect resistance) and evaluated the stage of development of collaborative projects. The third CCER reviewed the lowland tropical maize subprogramme and discussed the role of NARS and the private sector in this mega-environment, germplasm development efforts (population improvement and hybrid development), and the need to incorporate multiple stress tolerance and improved grain quality in appropriate germplasm. The review team emphasized the need to evaluate the utility of marker-assisted selection as a breeding tool for complex traits.
The fourth CCER reviewed breeding strategies and methodologies. It generally endorsed the strategies of the Programme, made suggestions to enhance the work, and recommended that population improvement should not be de-emphasized despite increased focus on hybrid breeding.
The EPMR Panel found these peer reviews useful, but notes that they did not address broader cross-cutting strategic issues or subjects other than breeding.