REPORT OF THE
OF THE CENTRO
MEJORAMIENTO DE MAIZ
This document contains:
Extract of the proceedings of AGM05
Report of the External Review Panel and Annexes
CONSULTATIVE GROUP ON INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH
CONSULTATIVE GROUP ON INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH
SCIENCE COUNCIL AND CGIAR SECRETARIAT
Report of the
Fifth External Program and Management Review (EPMR)
of the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo
Don Marshall (Chair)
Eugenio J. Cap
Peter G. Goertz
Maureen K. Robinson
Edward N. Sayegh
Sirkka Immonen (SC Secretariat)
SCIENCE COUNCIL SECRETARIAT
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
CGIAR Annual General Meeting, 2005 (AGM05)
External Program and Management Review of CIMMYT1
The Chair noted that ExCo had a full discussion of the EPMR report at its meeting in May
EPMR Panel Chair Donald Marshall presented a summary of the findings and
recommendations of the CIMMYT EPMR. He noted that CIMMYT was undergoing a major
transformation at the time of the review. He highlighted the following major findings of the
* Deficiencies in strategic planning,
* Failed financial oversight by the Board,
* Lack of a financial management system and project management system,
* Lack of critical mass of plant breeding expertise,
* low staff morale.
However, he noted that despite the above major problems, CIMMYT has maintained the
production of high quality research outputs and continued to contribute to positive impacts
on agriculture of developing countries. In the Panel's view, there is a compelling case for
continuing support to CIMMYT.
Indicating agreement with the Panel's conclusions and recommendations, SC Chair Per
Pinstrup-Andersen highlighted key points in the SC's commentary. He pointed out the
importance of monitoring the implementation of EPMR recommendations, noting that the
problems subsequently faced by CIMMYT might have been avoided if the recommendations
of the Center's 4th EPMR were implemented. The SC emphasized the importance of
translating CIMMYT's strategic plan into a more detailed business plan as recommended by
the Panel. The SC was pleased to see that CIMMYT has responded to this recommendation
and is looking forward to implementing the newly developed business plan next year.
In its commentary, the CGIAR Secretariat reiterated its endorsement of the Panel's
recommendations on governance and management. It further highlighted the need for a
better balance in providing oversight responsibilities for Centers' research and for its
management and finance. The need for close monitoring of EPMR recommendations was
1 Extract of Summary Record of Proceedings, CGIAR Annual General Meeting, Business, Meeting, 7-8
December 2005, Marrakech, Morocco
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
CGIAR Annual General Meeting, 2005 (AGM05)
CIMMYT Board Chair Lene Lange and DG Masa Iwanaga gave presentations focusing on
what CIMMYT has accomplished so far in response to the recommendations of the EPMR.
Of the 23 recommendations, they reported that more than half have either been implemented
or are in the process of being implemented. The following were highlighted:
a. Agreement by the Board on a new governance system for CIMMYT, key features of
which include a focus on key Board functions, a smaller Board size with new skills
added, more frequent meetings, and transparent and participatory agenda setting.
b. Completion of a detailed business plan to be implemented in 2006.
c. Management information systems being put in place.
d. Improvement in liquidity (significant increase in the Center's reserves).
e. Significant progress in forging partnerships with other CGIAR Centers, i.e. with
ICARDA on wheat research in CWANA region, and with IRRI on three programs.
* Members were generally pleased with the progress that has been made and encouraged
the Center to continue to undertake the changes recommended by the EPMR Panel.
* The breakdown in the Board's oversight of finance was not only due to the lack of
financial management expertise on the Board. It could also be attributed to the way in
which Board members (in CGIAR Centers) were selected, i.e. often by existing Board
members and DGs.
* EPMRs have a basic limitation as a component of the CGIAR's monitoring and
evaluation process in that they are conducted only every five years or so. This
emphasizes the need to complement it with an annual performance monitoring system.
* There is a need for the monitoring and evaluation system to go beyond the institutional
* There is a need to balance the objective of building up the Center's reserves and re-
building its staff capacity.
* CIMMYT's work in LAC has significantly decreased. National programs in the region
could benefit more from CIMMYT's work, particularly from its pre-breeding activities.
* The CGIAR endorsed the CIMMYT EPMR recommendations.
* Members expressed appreciation for CIMMYT's response and gave encouragement to
the Center as it proceeds with reforms.
* The SC and CGIAR Secretariat should draw out lessons in terms of practices that go
beyond a particular Center that might be of more general applicability across the System.
SC Commentary on the Fifth External Program and Management Review of CIMMYT
The Report of the Fifth External Program and Management Review (EPMR) of CIMMYT was
discussed at SC3 at IWMI headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in the presence of the Panel
Chair Dr. Don Marshall, Chair of CIMMYT's Board of Trustees Dr. Alex McCalla, and the
CIMMYT DG, Dr. Masa Iwanaga. The Science Council (SC) expresses its appreciation to
Dr. Don Marshall and his Panel for a critical Report, which provides a frank and constructive
assessment of all aspects of the Center's operations. The Panel report incorporates comments
and analysis from both a prospective and a retrospective point of view. The SC notes with
appreciation that CIMMYT considers this report of high quality, timely and useful at a time
of transition and broadly agrees with the EPMR Panel's assessment and recommendations.
The Center has already initiated action to implement the recommendations. The Report
contains twenty three recommendations and several important suggestions in the various
chapters. The SC endorses the Panel's recommendations and provides the following
commentary to complement the Report.
The Panel began by looking at the implementation of the agreed recommendations from the
4th CIMMYT EPMR in 1998 and found that several recommendations have been left
unimplemented. This has affected the operations of CIMMYT and provides strong reasons
for the System to urgently put in place a coherent follow-through monitoring and evaluation
(M&E) mechanism to reinforce a higher sense of accountability at the Center governance and
management levels. Such steps have been taken in the annual performance measurement
and Medium Term Plan assessment now being implemented at the System level. The SC
fully agrees with the Panel that the Center has born a high cost of serious shortfalls in
governance and management, clearly documented in the report, some of which stem from
the failure to implement past recommendations.
Due to financial failure which reached a critical point at the end of 2002, CIMMYT has gone
through turmoil, including three staff downsizing implemented at the same time it was
engaged in strategic planning and major programmatic restructuring. The effects of this are
reflected in the responses to a staff survey conducted by the Panel. The SC shares the EPMR
Panel's concern that low staff morale is one of the gravest problems that the Center needs to
address urgently. Any further downsizing of staff could hurt the research programs
The Panel concluded that CIMMYT's unique experience and capacity in genetic
enhancement of two of the world's major crops for poor environments and traits needed by
the poor is the main justification for its existence. The Panel was concerned that this capacity
is being eroded through a) a shift of resources away from plant breeding to other activities to
implement the livelihoods based programs of the new CIMMYT strategy; and b) a slow
uptake and use of modern breeding methods that eventually could justify change in staff
patterns. The SC agrees with these concerns of the Panel.
Panel considered CIMMYT's new strategic plan weak and lacking in direction and goals for
implementation, despite the participatory process that the Center followed in developing the
plan. Thus, in the Panel's assessment, in trying to cover a very broad agenda, CIMMYT has
overly de-emphasised germplasm enhancement in its strategic plan. The SC fears that
CIMMYT is ceasing to promote its comparative advantage in crop improvement in the broad
sense in its strategic plan for what ever reasons, one of which could be the declining
investment by donors to support a program based on strong genetic enhancement
component. The SC wishes to re-emphasise to all stakeholders the critical and vital role of
germplasm-based gains in productivity, maintenance of past gains and risk avoidance in the
overall strategies of the CGIAR.
The SC strongly cautions the Center from diversifying away from its core competence in
genetic enhancement to areas where several other Centers and other organizations are
working, such as crop-livestock interactions, INRM and addressing livelihoods broadly, and
to areas beyond the CGIAR's priorities, such as putting in place national seed systems even
though these activities may be linked to increasing maize and wheat productivity and
subsequent poverty alleviation. Thus in reorienting its programs, CIMMYT should seek
more engagement with others to provide the "livelihood" setting and outcomes in which
CIMMYT focuses on the crop improvement. This is particularly important in regions such as
CWANA where another Center can provide the livelihood inputs for the program. The Panel
noted that CIMMYT unfortunately appears to be expanding its livelihoods agenda in this
region at the expense of crop improvement.
Inter- Center relationships
It is important that the CGIAR System as a whole be seen to be working in a co-ordinated
way towards a single mission. CIMMYT's long-running disagreement with ICARDA, as
highlighted by the Panel, over responsibility for wheat and barley breeding in the CWANA
region is counter-productive and, therefore, must cease at the earliest possible time. The SC
sees the inter-Center planning meetings that have already taken place as steps in the right
direction. However, in the SC's view, the assertion by both Centers that resolution will take
time, simply because the dispute has been ongoing for many years, is not acceptable. The SC
expects to see an indication of enhanced collaboration in the respective Center's MTPs for
The SC joins the Panel in commending CIMMYT for its efforts to integrate its research in the
new program structure, which has broken down the strong "silos" of the crop and discipline
programs of the old CIMMYT. The previous sharp split of activities into disciplinary
programs in maize, wheat, biotechnology, NRM and economics, including a split even in the
gene bank and in training into separate maize and wheat units, has not helped the Center to
develop new research approaches and promote best practices in areas such as database
management. The new structure should enhance the internal collaboration between
breeding and biotechnology, which the SC considers imperative. The SC is also pleased to
note that CIMMYT has been able to attract highly qualified new staff to the program leader
The SC is pleased that the Panel's assessment of CIMMYT's past research performance is by
and large positive. The Panel's negative analysis of CIMMYT's publication record over the
review period should, however, be addressed. CIMMYT has demonstrated impact in all
areas of past research. CIMMYT's efforts in maintenance breeding have been invaluable
securing and advancing yield gains through breeding against the main biotic and abiotic
stresses. CIMMYT needs to maintain an adequate level of activity in maintenance breeding.
The SC shares the Panel's concern that CIMMYT has not been able to modernise its facilities
due to lack of investment, and that areas such as data management and biotechnology
capacity require substantial investments to be sufficient for the Center's needs. The uptake of
modern breeding methods has stagnated at CIMMYT in recent years, and one reason seems
to have been the costing structure of projects, which has favoured labour-based approaches
and penalised use of modern breeding tools. CIMMYT cannot assume that introduction of
new breeding tools is immediately going to ease the requirement for breeder capacity at the
Center. Experienced breeders are key in implementing the shift from the conventional
approaches to incorporation of new breeding tools that will eventually enhance efficiency.
CIMMYT should more carefully assess the involvement of alternative suppliers, the private
sector in particular, for maize in the favoured areas in Asia and Latin America, and the
strong wheat programs in many countries. The Center needs to identify its specific niche in
wheat and maize related research targeting areas where past research has not made a change
and addressing pressing problems also in favourable areas if it has a comparative advantage.
The SC raises some questions related to the continuation of the QPM breeding for human
consumption without clear evidence of nutritional and other benefits. Although CIMMYT is
planning to incorporate the QPM trait to all materials with other useful characteristics, and
there are benefits to animals from high lysine and tryptophan, this work does not seem to
warrant the additional investment which is needed, as the trait is not simple to manage, and
does involve possible trade-offs with other traits.
Although the Panel considered CIMMYT's work in economics of high quality particularly in
demonstrating past impact, it noted the total lack of ex ante impact assessment. This is also
the SC's concern and it does not regard the Resource Allocation Tool as a substitute for more
explicit ex ante impact assessments. It is particularly critical for guiding decisions regarding
research into marginal areas and targeting resource poor farmers and other choices to
determine optimal balance between different activities. The SC feels that not implementing
the 4th EPMR's recommendations on the Economics Program has been a serious omission as
these recommendations are still valid.
As previously noted, CIMMYT has failed to implement any of the 4th EPMR
recommendations related to management. The report gives a grim account of the financial
mismanagement since 1998 which led the Center to near collapse in 2002. It appears that
funds went to overly ambitious research programs at the will of research leaders with
inadequate monitoring, and corporate, financial and human resources management
components were neglected.
CIMMYT faces great challenges in attempting to build up again its reserves. It still needs to
make priority decisions in order to enhance the scientific infrastructure. The SC strongly feels
that a weak CIMMYT is a loss to the entire CGIAR System. The SC is sympathetic to the
Centers determination to run a positive balance through savings. However, the SC is highly
concerned about the continuing seriousness of CIMMYT's financial challenges.
In addition to its analysis of the performance of the Board, the Panel provided a think piece
on a governance model for CIMMYT and the CGIAR Centers in general. This includes a
significantly smaller Board than is currently the practice, with emphasis on corporate and
financial management oversight reflected in the Board members' expertise areas along with
more frequent virtual and face-to-face meetings. The Center Board and Management
fundamentally agree with this perspective. The SC emphasises that with any such model, the
Boards would still need to assume principal oversight responsibility for all Center
management, including program quality and relevance. Board commissioned CCERs are a
central tool for carrying out this oversight responsibility.
The SC agrees with the Panel that the Center needs to be clear about its responsibilities
regarding the Generation Challenge Program (GCP) that it hosts. It is very positive that the
CP seems to have stimulated collaboration among researchers in different Centers.
In the absence of a clearly articulated operational strategy, the SC considers it urgent that the
Center, with full involvement of its new Program leaders, completes a strategic business plan
to implement the new strategy. This should be reflected clearly in the Center's Medium-term
Plan for 2006-8. Furthermore, the implementation of the matrix management structure
requires that the Center has in place best management practices.
The SC suggests that given the many challenges CIMMYT faces regarding the financial
situation, staff morale, management of the new program matrix, further development of
programs and implementation of the new strategic plan, the Center be reviewed after one
year rather than two years as recommended by the Panel. This review should be
accompanied by a site visit and include the Panel Chair. This is particularly relevant for
monitoring improvement with staff morale. At the time of the review the Center needs to
have its program of work developed involving the new program leaders, have Board reform
completed, and show evidence of progress as measured by critical indicators on all aspects of
CGIAR Secretariat Comments on the Governance and Management Aspects of the
CIMMYT EPMR Report
The review points to the failure of governance as a major reason for the severe crisis faced by
CIMMYT. Continuing financial difficulty, low staff morale, and overall uncertainty are key
concerns highlighted by the EPMR Panel.
The Panel's findings emphasize the critical importance of oversight of the Center's
operations. Ensuring the implementation of CGIAR-endorsed EPMR recommendations is a
major responsibility of CIMMYT's Board and management. Had the recommendations of the
4th CIMMYT EPMR on governance and management been implemented, perhaps the
current financial crisis would have been averted. Recently the CGIAR Executive Council
began to monitor the implementation of EPMR recommendations, which may flag non-
compliance with CGIAR-agreed EPMR recommendations in a more timely manner. It should
be noted that ExCo also alerted the Center in 2003 about CIMMYT's poor financial
performance and requested remedial action.
We support the recommendations of the Panel on governance and management. We note
that CIMMYT has agreed to all but one of them (i.e., creation of a governance committee)
and has initiated changes to improve the governance processes. In our view, the
recommendations point to the need for the Board to re-examine how it handles business. The
Panel's suggestions contained in Appendix VII (Re-thinking Governance in CGIAR Centers)
of the report could be helpful for this purpose.
One specific area of reform that we would like to highlight relates to Board's role in
providing oversight of research and quality of science. We agree with the SC that,
fundamentally, this is a major responsibility of the Board. Oversight of management and
finance is an equally fundamental responsibility. The Board needs to decide how it would
carry these fundamental responsibilities. In some cases the Board need not provide direct
oversight itself, so long as it puts in place mechanisms that facilitate adequate and timely
oversight. The Panel makes suggestions on such mechanisms which complement CGIAR
evaluation and monitoring processes such as the EPMRs, MTPs, and PM.
A better balance of oversight responsibilities would enable the Board to have a greater
opportunity to focus on other strategic concerns such as re-building CIMMYT's image, fund
raising and financial planning, improving the Center's efficiency, establishing new
partnerships, etc. In this connection, we take note of the Panel's conclusion that "CIMMYT's
Board lacks sufficient depth of expertise in financial analysis, in business management and in
attracting new resources to provide an adequate level of informed oversight and support to
We are pleased to note that the Panel has reiterated the importance of an orientation and
learning process for new Center Board members. Orientation programs at the System level
are available, and one specifically suited to the Center should be a key component of
CIMMYT's governance improvement process.
We would like to clarify two specific statements made by the Panel in Section 1.2.2 of the
The Panel states that "the rapid erosion of core support for the Centers by donor agencies
over the 1990s and its only partial replacement by special project funding... has been
exacerbated by the development of CPs..." The recent analysis of the pilot CP experience
("Synthesis of Lessons Learned from Initial Implementation of CGIAR Pilot Challenge
Programs" at http://www.cgiar.org/pdf/agm04/agm04_cp_essons.pdf) shows that the
CGIAR's overall funding has been on the upswing since 2001 and that core support has not
been affected by the development of CPs.
The Panel cites "...linking part of the World Bank contribution to Centers to the level of
funds raised" as another reason for "erosion of core support." In fact, the Bank has been
increasingly "de-linking" its contributions to Centers to the level of funds raised from other
donors (i.e., "matching"). In recent years the trend has been to decrease the percentage of
the Bank's contribution provided on a matching basis.
In conclusion, the CGIAR Secretariat commends the EPMR Panel for a thorough evaluation
of CIMMYT's programs and management. This EPMR provides yet another example of the
significant impact governance, management and institutional health have on program
performance. The depth of analysis provided in the areas of governance and management in
this review is in part due to having two panel members devote their primary attention to
We recommend that ExCo and the CGIAR endorse the Panel's recommendations on the
governance and management of CIMMYT.
International Maize and Wheat
Centro Internacional de
Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo
March 23, 2005
Dr. Per Pinstrup-Andersen
Chairman, CGIAR Science Council
305 Savage Hall
Ithaca, NY14853-6301, USA
Dr. Francisco J.B. Reifschneider
Director, Consultative Group
on International Agricultural Research
The World Bank, 1818 H Street NW,
Washington, DC 20433, USA
Dear Per and Francisco:
The CIMMYT Board and Management appreciate the efforts of the 5th EPMR Panel in assessing
CIMMYT at a time the Center is under major transition. The report comes at an opportune time for
the Center and we find the critical analysis and rich and constructive suggestions to be very helpful
in addition to the 23 recommendations contained in the report. The Center's response to the Panel's
recommendations and other general observations are attached to this letter.
The Center recognizes that in a number of key areas recommendations of the previous EPMR have
been given inadequate attention. We also acknowledge that, in the past, governance procedures have
been below international standards of best practice. The CIMMYT Board has recently initiated an
ambitious and far-reaching process that will lead to a comprehensive reform of its system of
The Center shares the view of the Panel that "the Centre is now poised to move forward into the
We firmly believe that the new vision for CIMMYT of linking pathways to poverty alleviation with
improved and sustainable maize and wheat based farming systems, coupled with the undoubted
excellence of CIMMYT's new senior management team and staff, augers well for the Center. We
continue to look for more efficient means to deliver the outputs of our work so that they impact
where needed most- in the households of poor families- and we stand ready to catalyze change
processes in the CGIAR.
Finally, we urge donors to invest in the new CIMMYT.
CIMMYT RESPONSE TO THE 5th EXTERNAL PROGRAMME and MANAGEMENT
The CIMMYT Board and Management take this opportunity to thank the 5th EPMR Panel for their time,
effort and recommendations. The report is a vital part of the oversight of the Center and will help it
ensure continued impact to its stakeholders in the future. Throughout, this response is a collective
response of the Board and Management unless otherwise noted.
The Center recognizes that in a number of key areas recommendations of the previous external
review have been given inadequate attention. While it would be easy to pass the responsibility for this
failure to act to the financial crisis and prior administrations, it is appropriate for the Center Board and
management to recognize these shortcomings and to take responsibility for appropriate remedial
actions. In many areas such as performance evaluation, cost recovery systems, project management
and computerised financial systems, the current Center management is actively working on these
issues. We recognize that there has been an under-investment in these areas in the past and we will
strive to make changes, with appropriate resourcing, in the short to medium term.
The Center shares the concerns of the Panel on staff morale, and also recognizes that various staff
groups have lived through deep financial turmoil, significant staff downsizing and ongoing staff
employment concerns associated both with the new alliance with IRRI and implementation of the new
strategy. The Center also recognizes, as did the Panel that "despite the ongoing funding crisis... the
panel was pleased to find that CIMMYT's scientific staff continued to produce a range of outstanding
CIMMYT is a world renowned scientific institution and as such attaches great importance to the
relevance and quality of its science. The Center is encouraged by the positive comments of the panel
regarding the "uniformly high quality of the newly appointed Directors", and that the overall staff quality
was ranked by the panel as good to very good. The comments of the panel on the complexities of
implementing a program matrix structure are embraced by the Centre and we shall endeavor to instill
as much clarity as possible into the various matrix roles.
The CIMMYT Board of Trustees found the Panel's advice on governance particularly useful. The
major preoccupation of the Board since 2002 has been the financial health of CIMMYT but the Board
has also been aware that its governance procedures are below international standards of best
practice. The Board has recently initiated an ambitious process that will lead to a comprehensive
reform of its system of governance. The advice of the Panel has helped refine the thinking of the
Board and we are certain that the results of this ongoing process will be a durable framework for the
In closing, CIMMYT thanks the Panel again for the professional attitude it showed during its work. The
Center highly appreciates the critical analysis and rich and constructive suggestions made in the
report. The Center's Board has requested Management to report at the next meeting of the CIMMYT
Board in November 2005 with an outline of progress towards implementing recommendations.
The Center acknowledges and shares the view of the Panel that "the future ahead for CIMMYT is very
General comments: CIMMYT was pleased that the panel recognized that the Centre's recent
strategic planning process had brought together staff and members of the Board of Trustees to
critically assess how CIMMYT could build on its historical strengths and remain relevant to its various
stakeholders. We agree with the panel that the Centre has adopted a bold new vision and mission
and that the strategic direction outlined in "Seeds of Innovation" needs to be fleshed out in a strategic
business plan that, amongst other things, will assess the resource needs to implement the plan. A key
part of this planning process which will occur throughout 2005 will be the development of a revised
resource mobilisation strategy.
While CIMMYT concurs with the panel's judgement that current work is constrained by the restricted
nature of CIMMYT's funding there are several excellent examples of projects that have attracted donor
support that clearly align with the Seeds of Innovation strategy, including NSIMA ("New seed initiative
for maize in Africa"); IRMA "Insect resistant maize for Africa: Delivering products to farmers'); and
SOFESCA ("Soil fertility consortium for southern Africa"). These projects are strongly supported by the
regional communities they serve as they are clearly having an impact on their lives. While it is
undoubtedly true that a range of social and political factors will influence the extent to which CIMMYT
can achieve its mission, CIMMYT believes that the success of programs such as the African
Livelihoods Program demonstrates that the new strategy, when fully implemented, can have a
profound effect on the lives of many of the world's poorest communities. As the panel has observed,
the Director General has recruited an exceptionally talented team that will lead the implementation of
the new strategy. CIMMYT believes this team has the skills and the commitment to lead the
significant changes foreshadowed in Seeds of Innovation and to address the poor staff morale that
has resulted from the major restructuring.
Clearly the focus in "Seeds of Innovation" on regionalisation of CIMMYT's activities places increased
emphasis on both sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. The Center continues to seek new
project activities, consistent with the strategy, to expand research and impact on poverty alleviation.
1. The Panel recommends that senior management and programme directors undertake a much more rigorous process to define
goals for the new strategy that provide a framework within which to organize projects and activities and against which
progress in meeting the goals can be measured. In addition to strengthening the implementation of the new strategy, the
process will enable the programme directors as a team to identify a set of goals that are congruent across the Centre.
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation and plans to implement the required actions with
immediate effect. The Center in its "Seeds of Innovation" document already has planned for
such a set of goals and milestones to be developed during 2005, and for there to be a Center
led review of the implementation by late 2006. "Seeds of Innovation" should be perceived as a
vision document for the new strategy that is being implemented and will be complemented, as
originally planned, by a supplemental plan document entitled "From vision to implementation"
2. The panel recommends that CIMMYT develop a business strategic plan that will support the successful implementation of
the new strategy in the face of a dynamic financial environment.
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation and sees the value in a business style strategic plan
document. As with recommendation 1 the Center will begin implementation of this
recommendation with immediate effect. A business strategic plan that brings into full operation
the "Seeds of Innovation" vision will clearly and explicitly state program goals, milestones,
deliverables, focus and balance. The document will also show clear linkages between the
setting of institution and program goals, resource mobilization and program budgets. This
exercise is also very closely linked to the development of our next MTP (2006-2008) and
attendant financing and resource mobilization plans.
3. The panel recommends that CIMMYT management and board undertake a mid-term review in 2007 focused on the
implementation of the new strategy, the r.,. !r of CIMMYT's reorganization and the impact of financial capacity on
CIMMYT's programmes and operations.
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation.
General comments: Overall, the Center found this chapter to be less useful than the report as a
whole for two (2) main reasons:
3.1.Some complex issues are not fully analysed. For example, the Panel refers to the
release of drought tolerant maize OPVs for sub-Saharan Africa and the potential for
their cultivation on 1M hectares but questions whether any smallholder farmers grow
this material (p27). This analysis does not take into account the considerable role of
NGOs in distributing seed to smallholder families and the remarkable increase in the
use of improved OPVs in the region.
3.2. There appears to be uneven and inconsistent use of CCERs conducted by the Center
during 2004. The recommendations of the wheat CCER are largely reflected by the
Panel however, in the case of the maize CCER, the conclusions of the Panel do not take
into account the CCER report. Furthermore, some of the findings of the Panel on maize
research are incomplete and, apparently, contradictory. For example, the maize CCER
concluded that "important contributions had been made to the livelihoods of the
resource poor maize producers and to Africa's maize industry" while the EPMR report
finds that "it is obvious (sic) that germplasm improvement and better agronomic
practices have not yet reached the resource-poor smallholders".
The Center notes that the Panel use the number of papers in peer-reviewed journals as a
measure of scientific quality however, would no doubt agree that scientific publications are a
single and limited measure of scientific excellence. The Center welcomes the Panel's
endorsement of the success of the Rice Wheat Consortium (RWC), winner of the 2004 King
Baudouin Award, and agrees whole-heartedly with the need for donor-commissioned project
reviews to become routine input to EPMRs.
General comments: The Center is concerned that the overall impression in this chapter is one of
CIMMYT falling below critical mass in certain areas such as wheat breeding. The Center is firmly of
the view that significant gains in plant breeding methodologies in recent years have increased the
efficiency of its plant breeding programs and that simple input measures such as staff classified as
"plant breeders" do not adequately reflect the genetic progress that is being made in the improvement
of wheat and maize. The Center also notes that the CGIAR 2003 annual report highlights that
CIMMYT has the largest investment of all centres in one of the five (5) system outputs: germplasm
4. To facilitate the establishment of a multidisciplinary approach to conducting ex ante
impact studies, the Panel recommends that increased integration through time allocation
be secured between ITA staff and non-social scientists in the other programmes.
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation and notes that a multi-disciplinary approach to research,
embracing bio-physical and social scientists, is emphasized in the "Seeds of Innovation" document.
5. The Panel recommends that ITA, in cooperation with the ecoregional programmes,
collect data on the variables that explain the heterogeneity of the existing production
functions and thus, of yields (both potential and actual) that express differences
attributable to productivity gaps within the same agroecological region, due to constraints
that limit the adoption of improved technology.
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation and considers this approach to be part of a planned wider
research effort to assemble and analyze information on factors determining pathways for technology
adoption, livelihood impacts and poverty reduction in major wheat- and maize-based farming systems
of developing countries.
6. The Panel recommends that (the) ITA (Programme) initiate macroeconomic studies by
2006 in close cooperation with IFPRI and other CGIAR Centres. The highest priority
should be assigned to sub-Saharan African countries.
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation insofar as it refers to analysing sectoral and rural
development policy determinants of wheat- and maize-based farming systems improvement and to
identify and advocate appropriate policy and institutional responses.
7. The panel recommends that maize research in CIMMYT identify the high priority Marginal Maize Production Areas
(MMPAs) in each mega-environment. Based on such MMPAs, a seed delivery system for improved cultivars should be
developed jointly with partners as a vehicle to make CIMMYT's upstream maize research results available to resource-
CIMMYT accepts the recommendation to focus on low-yielding areas caused by abiotic, biotic
and socioeconomic constraints. CIMMYT has a comparative advantage is in the development
of germplasm for low to very low yielding environments to which much of our germplasm
development efforts in sub-Saharan Africa have been directed. We agree that seed delivery
systems require further development and, towards this aim, CIMMYT has recently hired a seed
systems specialist for our African Livelihoods Program.
8. The panel recommends that maize breeding and r. -i, i. t, i.'i t in the following areas be intensified:
a) Grain quality characteristics of high priority to end users in MMPAs, combined
with more systematic research and breeding to reduce mycotoxin contamination on
CIMMYT agrees with this recommendation however, notes the need for additional, sustainable
resources to ensure that new initiatives have a medium to longer term outlook. In the meantime,
CIMMYT will explore opportunities for collaborative work in this area with IITA.
b) Testing and evaluation of breeding materials directly in the MMPAs, for
identification of the best material for release;
CIMMYT notes this recommendation and observes that it is routine procedure for experimental
materials to be tested in their target environments. CIMMYT has made very significant progress in
MMPAs using farmer participatory "Mother-Baby" trials (>1M ha in southern Africa sown with improved
maize using this approach) and acknowledges the recommendation as being a strong endorsement of
c) Non-transgenic host plant insect resistance research to speed up the process of
integration of the highly resistant CIMMYT germplasm into new varieties;
CIMMYT notes this recommendation. CIMMYT has invested in host plant resistance work for at least
30 years and considerable progress has been made however, increasingly transgenic approaches to
insect resistance are providing significant technical gains. We will continue to work on an integrated
pest management strategy that is reflected in a number of ongoing projects.
d) Application of fast track breeding techniques (doubled haploid, MAS, NIR
techniques) in all maize breeding activities in CIMMYT;
CIMMYT partially agrees with this recommendation as the value of these technologies should be
assessed on a case-by-case basis. CIMMYT has routinely been using MAS for traits where MAS is
more cost-effective than field-based techniques. Recently, CIMMYT has commenced the use of NIR
for assessing stover quality in maize and we expect to expand this work. The use of double haploids in
maize is a relatively new technique and its utility for marginal and low input environments is yet to be
proven. As for our response to 8a) CIMMYT notes the need for additional resources of a medium to
longer term nature to implement areas of research of strategic importance.
e) Acquisition, storage and management of maize breeding data to eliminate the
CIMMYT agrees with this recommendation and notes that decisions have already been made to
allocate more resources to the acquisition, storage and management of maize breeding data within
CIMMYT during the next two years.
9. The Panel recommends that:
a) Crop management research in (the) TES (Program) in the regions be strengthened
by allocating NRM (Crop and Resource Management) staff time from other
programmes, particularly IAP, to TES;
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation and notes that there are at least two avenues to be
pursued: a) additional financial resources are needed for the TES Program; and b) increasing the
overall staffing and cross program assignments of Crop and Resource Management scientists
b) CIMMYT, TES in particular, seek collaboration with other CGIAR Centres in the
region, including shared appointments of agronomists and other natural resources
CIMMYT agrees in principle with the recommendation. We will follow up on some initial discussions
that have already been held with three other centers and also on emerging collaboration among
centres within the Water and Food Challenge Program.
c) The Crop and Resource Management Group, TES and other ecoregional
programmes enhance strategic research on natural resource management,
particularly for improved water and nutrient use efficiency.
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation. Already there is an increased emphasis on more strategic
research through two recent appointments and we plan to enhance this approach in future projects
10. The Panel recommends that the IAP breeding teams work closely with crop management
and social science groups to develop cultivars that are suitable for conservation
agriculture, use water efficiently and are resistant to storage losses.
CIMMYT notes the recommendation and observes that activities in the RWC have embraced
genotype by management (conservation agriculture) interactions for some time. The plant breeding
programs in both maize and wheat, in recent years, have aimed at the development of germplasm
with an emphasis on input use efficiency (water) and resistance to storage losses (maize) and the
development of materials suited to conservation agriculture. The breeding programs in Mexico run a
parallel selection program under conservation agriculture and conventional conditions.
11. The Panel recommends that IAP undertake long term experiments to evaluate cropping
system sustainability with the results being fully utilized for strategic research as well as
for demonstration purposes.
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation insofar as it relates to long-term trials conducted on
CIMMYT's experimental stations in Mexico and notes that trials over the past 10 years in Mexico have
provided an excellent platform for strategic research and demonstration. In regional locations,
CIMMYT collaborates with research partners to effectively design, manage and utilise long-term crop
12. The Panel recommends that IAP increase its research in maize cropping systems and
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation and we expect to focus attention on the maize producing
regions of Asia where demand is increasing at the fastest rate.
13. The Panel recommends that the data acquisition, data management and genebank user
interface be upgraded in the CIMMYT genebank for both wheat and maize as a matter of
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation and notes that significant steps are already underway
through several different system-wide initiatives to develop a range of integrated modules to fully
computerise data acquisition, genebank management, germplasm evaluation and database query
across both crops.
General comment: The Center is very pleased to note the Panel's comments at the end of the
chapter: "in terms of developing stress resistant wheat and maize targeted at smallholder producers
farming in harsh environments CIMMYT has no peer. In that sense, the quality of science at CIMMYT
General comments: CIMMYT is pleased that the panel affirms the importance of effective
partnerships to the "Seeds of Innovation" strategy and acknowledges the track record CIMMYT has
already established in this regard. The Center agrees that the formation of meaningful partnerships
and alliances with other CGIAR centers, NARS, NGOs and ARIs will be essential if CIMMYT and other
CGIAR centers are to remain relevant to the communities they serve. For this reason, CIMMYT has
wholeheartedly embraced the concept of a formal alliance with IRRI and strongly supports the
recommendations of the oversight committee convened by the Rockefeller Foundation. However, the
Center also shares the view of the panel that there is considerable scope for greater integration of
activities with many other CGIAR centers and is committed to ongoing dialogue with the centers
mentioned in the report in order to build critical mass, improve efficiencies and enhance the impact of
CGIAR activities on the lives of the poor. CIMMYT concurs with the Panel's suggestion that there must
be clear definition of those interactions that will be critical to implementation of the "Seeds of
Innovation" strategy. The Center fosters excellent relations between individual CIMMYT scientists and
scientists from other institutions and there are many examples of highly productive interactions with
NARS and NGOs throughout CIMMYT's regional networks.
14. The Panel recommends that:
a) Training coordinator position be relocated to an independent Unit reporting directly
to the DDG-R;
CIMMYT notes the recommendation. As set forth in the CIMMYT strategy, training and capacity
building activities are an integral part of the knowledge management and sharing activities of the ITA
Program. These activities are closely related to broader ITA thrusts on the orientation of CIMMYT and
its partners to livelihoods and poverty reduction; support to the use of best practices; priority setting
and impact assessment; and, advocacy of effective policies to foster impact on the ground.
b) The Training Unit working together with programme directors develop a priority
setting tool, both thematic and geographical. The resulting priorities should then be
used to allocate resource to the programmes;
CIMMYT agrees in principle with the recommendation for training purposes and plans to implement a
priority setting tool as part of the enrichment of the Resource Allocation Tool that was developed
during the strategic planning exercise, noting that priorities for capacity building need to be determined
within and across programs.
c) CIMMYT develop innovative alternative funding schemes for training
CIMMYT agrees in principle with the recommendation and is actively exploring a variety of options
internally and with external stakeholders, including private sector support. Fellowship programs, both
internally and externally funded, will be implemented to facilitate capacity building.
General comments: The Center is extremely grateful for the thought the EPMR panel has given to
this section of the report and Appendix VII. The Board recognizes that certain aspects of governance
oversight of CIMMYT have failed in the past and has been working with the new management team to
improve governance processes.
During its March 2005 meeting, the Board held a one day session to review CIMMYT's governance. A
strong consensus was reached on a concept for full and in depth reform of our governance system.
This concept will be further developed in the coming months along with a detailed business plan for its
implementation after formal approval during the November 2005 Board meeting. Many of the EMPR
observations have reinforced our own analysis of the Board's strengths and weaknesses and the
recommendations provide a very constructive framework to guide the reform process. At the end of
this process we expect that CIMMYT will have a fully revamped governance system of the highest
In the meantime, we have initiated a number of specific changes in response to the EPMR report with
the aim to address the following:
a) Improved quality of the information provided to the Board.
b) Agenda setting that is organised to encompass both continuous items of Board work and
c) Performance evaluation of the Director General that is clearly aligned with CIMMYT"s key
d) Better use of CCERs as the primary mechanism for science review.
e) Greater role for the Board in resource mobilization.
f) Better monitoring of progress on key CIMMYT business issues.
g) No overlap of trustees on the Audit and Finance and Administration Committees.
Finally, CIMMYT wishes to record that it will continue its dialogue with IRRI and is fully committed to
achieving the vision of governance and management recommended by the oversight committee
convened by the Rockefeller Foundation.
15) To help ensure that CIMMYT builds and sustains high functioning Boards, the Panel
recommends the establishment of a governance committee with responsibility for a range
of activities essential to Board effectiveness, including defining more clearly the role of the
board, developing a more strategic process for identifying and recruiting board members,
assessing board performance on a formal basis, evaluating the performance of members
before re-election, recommending improvements to board practice, such as meeting design
and preparation, information flow and communication, and developing an orientation and
ongoing education program for members to enhance their performance
The Board is committed to fulfilling its role to the highest possible standards; with this goal in mind the
Board has agreed to further reduce its size to no more than seven appointed members while
maintaining the appropriate mix of skills, and to enhance the roles of the Audit and Finance and
Administration Committees as agents of the Board. Rather than create a separate governance
committee CIMMYT intends to engage a specialist consultant to help the Board and its committees
clarify their roles and put in place a more strategic process for identifying and recruiting board
members, assessing board performance on a formal basis and evaluating the performance of
members before re-election. The consultant will also provide advice on meeting design and
preparation, information flow and communication and will work with the Board to develop an
orientation and ongoing education program for trustees. It is anticipated that the consultant will also be
engaged to review the effectiveness of the Board's processes, in the first instance on an annual basis.
In future it is intended that the Board as a whole will explicitly address governance functions in lieu of
a governance committee.
16) The Panel recommends that a dedicated staff person in the DG's office be identified to
serve as the Board Secretary. This position should have sufficient status within the
organization, clear responsibility and also adequate time to provide support and
coordination for the board.
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation and has already (effective March 2005) implemented this
General comments: CIMMYT is pleased that the Panel recognized the role the new Director General
has played in leading the institution through an extremely difficult transition which involved painful
restructuring and reorientation such that CIMMYT can continue to be relevant in today's environment.
The Panel clearly acknowledge the complexity of the change process that is being lead by the Director
General and his management team and it is pleasing that the quality of the program directors that will
be critical to the future success of CIMMYT's strategy is acknowledged elsewhere in the report.
Notwithstanding the commitment of this group, CIMMYT is acutely aware of the poor morale of many
CIMMYT staff and in total agreement with the Panel that this needs to be addressed with utmost
In addition to the specific recommendations made by the Panel we would like to put on record a
number of important observations and suggestions that will be acted upon by the Center:
a) The host country agreement will be reviewed.
b) Careful attention will be paid to the new matrix management arrangements; effective
implementation will be monitored by the Board and, where necessary, management training
programs will be put in place.
c) Professional project and finance management systems will be implemented.
d) There will be close fiduciary oversight of Generation Challenge Program funding.
e) A comprehensive business plan to deliver the strategy articulated in "Seeds of Innovation" will
be developed for approval at the November 2005 Board meeting.
f) Corporate services functions will be strengthened.
g) The human resources function will encompass the support of the Center's human resources
h) CIMMYT has agreed, in principle, to implement the One Staff policy.
i) A new performance management system to support the new organisational structure will be
j) New financial oversight measures have been implemented.
k) CIMMYT will budget annual surpluses of the order of $2M until 2007 to ensure that working
capital of 90-120 days of operations is accumulated.
17) The Panel recommends that management review the staff survey results in detail with
special attention to staff morale, communication of policies, clarity of goals, performance
recognition, and staff evaluation, and take appropriate corrective action as a matter of
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation. Clearly, CIMMYT is in a period of transition and it is
inevitable that staff morale has been affected over the past two years which have seen down-sizings.
CIMMYT will work extremely hard to ensure that all staff have clarity on the future and an important
aspect of this will be a new One Staff policy that is already agreed in principle by the Board.
Consistent with recommendations 1) and 2) we fully expect that communication of roles and
responsibilities to staff, with attendant policies and procedures, will greatly assist staff function and
18) The Panel recommends that management give priority to reforming financial
management at the Centre, including budget, staffing and related systems, with highest
priority given to the development of a computerized financial management system that
provides real on-time financial information to users; and urgently develop (in
consultation with programme staff) a transparent resource allocation process consistent
with needs of the matrix management system.
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation. We have already commenced the implementation of the
following systems which are the initial building blocks for the development of a more comprehensive
financial management system:
An integrated human resource information system (HRIS); the first phase of this project will be
implemented by the end of March '05 and the complete staff database will be finalized by the
end of June '05.
CIAT's project manager application. We plan to have an effective project management system
in place during the 3r quarter of '05.
The issues surrounding the development and implementation of a completely new financial
management information system are being currently reviewed and we are evaluating options of
moving to a shared service with another CGIAR Center as a first priority.
19) The Panel recommends that management carefully examine the correctness of the net
assets (equity) balance for 2004 attributable to the increase in 2003 (of approximately
US$ 2.0 million) from fixed assets write-off and revaluation.
CIMMYT notes this recommendation and has reviewed it with our External Auditors who have
confirmed that, while the detail that was presented in the 2003 financial statements was less than
clear, the treatment was correct. The disclosure issue has been clarified in the 2004 financial
statements and the relative balances of CIMMYT's net asset categories are correctly stated.
20) The Panel recommends that the Board and management develop a set of financial
indicators for measuring the Centre financial performance and health. The indicators
should supplement those developed by the CGIAR System in close consultation with
CGIAR Secretariat and Centre Finance Directors.
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation. We have discussed and agreed upon a set of financial
indicators at the March '05 Board meeting. These indicators are based on those developed by the
21) The Panel recommends that a full cost recovery/pricing system for support services be
implemented to recover the full costs from projects and users of services. This will reduce
the pressure on unrestricted funding and make it available for other high priority
activities at the Centre, including building the working capital to the required level.
CIMMYT agrees with the recommendation and has already implemented changes within the '05
budget that will lead to full cost recovery from projects and users of services. It is expected that
through a combination of restructuring of our internal costing practices and improved project costing
when submitting proposals to donors, we will be able to substantially improve our performance in this
22) The Panel recommends that Board and management:
a) Make substantial efforts and allocate adequate time for the careful review of the
external audit (at headquarters and regional operations), management letters and the
audited financial statements with the notes;
b) Carefully review the annual audit plans and scope of external audit for headquarters
and regional operations;
c) Formally assess annually the performance of the external auditors before deciding on
CIMMYT agrees that the external audit function is crucial to the fiduciary oversight of the Center by the
Board and asserts that its Audit Committee takes its roles in relation to the External Auditors seriously.
The CIMMYT Board Audit Committee and full Board will continue to commit substantial time and effort
for the careful review of external audit reports for headquarters and regional offices. The Committee
annually receives audit plans, and will review the external audit scope to reflect management's and
the Board's assessment of risks, taking into account the changing nature of the Center's programs at
headquarters and in the regions. The Audit Committee will develop and implement a formal plan for
assessment of the External Auditors prior to renewal or selection of new auditors.
23) The Panel recommends that Board and management review the scope of internal audit
work and the capabilities of the senior internal auditor and make the required changes to
strengthen this important function.
The CIMMYT Board and Management agree that CIMMYT must have a strong internal audit function.
The scope and capabilities of the internal audit function will continue to be under review and all
necessary and appropriate actions will be taken.
The Center shares the view of the Panel that "the Centre is now poised to move forward into the
future". CIMMYT notes the conclusion of the Panel that "there are still outstanding issues, but for the
most part the hard work is behind it" however, we stay firmly committed to the remainder of the task
ahead. While we agree with the Panel that "the new strategic plan provides a strong vision for
CIMMYT in the future" we share its concerns that more work is needed at the implementation and goal
setting levels. The Center in its document "Seeds of Innovation" indicated that it would review the
status of implementation of the new strategy in late 2006, a suggestion that dovetails well with the
view of the EPMR Panel.
In its concluding comments the panel rightly looks at the CIMMYT of tomorrow. The panel indicates
some of the many challenges that still are ahead in a changing world; and draws attention to the key
role that CIMMYT has had since its inception of providing public sector improved germplasm. CIMMYT
recognizes and restates its clear role in this area. This is one of its enduring strengths as explicitly
highlighted in the new strategy. CIMMYT also recognizes the importance of the substantial new
investment that is needed by the Center that results from the financial crisis prior to 2002. CIMMYT
hopes that donors heed the comment of the Panel that the Center must "seek additional capital
support from donors".
Don R. Marshall
Director, Plant Breeding Rolutions Pty
112 Lindsay St, Tel.: (61 2) 4962 1671
Hamilton NSW 3203, Australia E-mail: MarshallPBS@aol.com
9 March 2005
Dr Per Pinstrup-Andersen
Chair, Science Council
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
Division of Nutritional Sciences
305 Savage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-6301, USA
Dr Francisco Reifschneider
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
The World Bank
1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20433, USA
Dear Drs Pinstrup-Andersen and Reifschneider,
I am pleased to transmit to you the Report of the Panel that conducted the Fifth
External Programme and Management Review (EPMR) of the International Maize
and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) headquartered in Mexico. The Panel
reviewed, as requested, the research programme and its outputs and impacts, as well
as the management and governance, of the Centre.
CIMMYT suffered a severe financial crisis in mid-2002 provoked by the complete
rundown of the Centre's capital reserve. A number of factors appear to have
contributed to this financial crisis. However, deficiencies in the oversight of the
Centre's finances by the Board of Trustees of CIMMYT appear to have been a
significant contributing factor. As a consequence, this Panel examined governance
issues more closely than EPMRs of other Centres and has made several
recommendations for the improvement of the governance of CIMMYT. However,
some of the issues facing the CIMMYT Board are common to the boards of other
CGIAR Centres. Therefore in an Appendix to the report, the Panel proposes a more
functional and strategic approach to Centre Governance to provoke consideration of
the issue across the system.
CIMMYT over the last 18 months has gone through a major transformation. It has a
new mission, strategic plan and programme structure. It has a younger staff profile
that is better aligned to meet to the needs of its new strategic plan, and the staff have
greater skills in a range of modem technologies. CIMMYT also has a new
management team in place as well as new scientific leadership. However, the
transformation is ongoing-CIMMYT is still a Centre in transition- and the Panel
made a number of recommendations to improve both the management of CIMMYT
and its scientific programmes. The Panel felt it was too early to judge the
effectiveness of the changes that have happened and are continuing to happen at
CIMMYT. As a result the Panel has recommended that the CIMMYT Board and
management undertake a mid-term review in 2007 to assess the progress towards the
full implementation of the new structure and programmes and their effectiveness.
I wish to thank my fellow Panel members who worked together in a common cause
with great enthusiasm, commitment and sense of purpose. It was a pleasure to work
with them. I also wish to sincerely thank, both personally and on behalf of the Panel,
Sirkka Immonnen from the iSC Secretariat who served as a resource person and
supported the Panel throughout the review. Her assistance was always timely and
effective and her exceptional organizational skills ensured the completion of the
review as planned. Last, but not least, I thank Selcuk Ozgediz and Manny Lantin
from the CGIAR Secretariat who helped from a distance and provided valuable input
the governance and management components of the review.
Finally all the Panel Members join me in expressing our appreciation for the
opportunity to participate in the challenging task of conducting this Review. We
hope our report will be useful to the CGIAR, CIMMYT and its partners.
Chair, External Review Panel.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface..................... i.................................................................................................................................................... i
Executive Sum m ary ...................... ...................................................................................................................... iii
Recom m endations.......................................................................................................... ix
1 BA CK G RO U N D A N D C O N TEXT .......................................................................... .......................... 1
1.1 C IM M YT in a Changing W orld............................................................................ ..................... 1
1.2 D rivers of Change ............................................................................................ ........................... 2
1.3 W heat and M aize Production .......................................................................................................... 5
1.4 Is There a Future for C IM M YT? ..................................................................... ..................... 7
1.5 CIMMYT's Responses to the Fourth EPMR Recommendations........................................10
2 C IM M YT'S N EW STRA TEG Y ........................................ ....................................... ............................11
2.1 General Observations on the Plan and the Planning Process ........................................11
2.2 A bout the Planning Process.......................................................................... ............................11
2.3 A bout the Plan D ocum ent ............................................ ...................................................... 12
2.4 M mission .................................................................. ...... ............................12
2.5 The N ew Strategy.................................................................................... ...................................13
2.6 A N eed for a Business Strategic Plan .......................................................... ...................... 15
2.7 Im plem entation and Priority Setting........................................................... ...................... 15
2.8 M medium -Term Plan 2005-2007 ................................................ ........................................... 17
2.9 Resource A location and M mobilization ........................................................ ......................18
2.10 C conclusion ............................................................................................... .........................................19
3 RESEA RC H A C C O M PLISH M EN TS .................................................................... ...................... 21
3.1 W HEAT PROGRAM ..............................................................................................................................21
3.2 M aize Program ...................... ...........................................................................................................26
3.3 N natural Resources G group ................................................................................ .........................31
3.4 Econom ics Program ...................... ...................................................................................................37
3.5 A applied Biotechnology C enter.................................................................... .......................40
4 TH E N EW RESEA RC H PRO G RA M .................................................................... .......................43
4.1 Introduction ...................... ................................................................................................................43
4.2 G genetic Resources .................................................................................... ..................................43
4.3 Im pacts Targeting and A ssessm ent............................................................ ....................... 47
4.4 Sustaining A frican Livelihoods.................................................................... ...................... 50
4.5 Rainfed W heat System s.................................................................................... ...................... 54
4.6 Tropical Ecosystem s ......................................................... .........................................................60
4.7 Intensive A gro-Ecosystem Program ........................................................... ....................... 65
5 RESEA RC H SU PPO RT ...................... .......................................................................................................71
5.1 G IS U nit ...................... ..................................................................................... ...................... 71
5.2 Bioinform atics ...................... .............................................................................................................73
5.3 G rain Q quality Laboratory ............................................................................... ..........................73
5.4 Seed Inspection and D distribution U nit........................................................ ......................74
5.5 Biom etrics ........................................................................................... .........................................75
5.6 Soils and Plant A analysis Laboratory ................................................................. ......................76
5.7 Transgenic C rops and Biosafety................................................................... ......................76
5.8 C IM M YT G enebank.........................................................................................................................77
6 Q U A LITY O F SCIEN C E ...................... .....................................................................................................79
6.1 Research Relevance ...................... ....................................................................................................79
6.2 Research Inputs ...................... ..........................................................................................................79
6.3 Research Execution ...................... ....................................................................................................82
6.4 Assurance of Research Output Quality...................................................... .......................84
6.5 O overall Q quality of Scien ce............................................................................. ...................... 85
7 PARTNERSHIPS AND LINKAGES..................................................... .......................................89
7.1 Interactions with Other CGIAR Centers ..................................................... ......................89
7.2 Links w ith N A RS and N G O s........................................................................ ............................92
7.3 Links with Advanced Research Institutes ................................... .... ......................96
7.4 Partnerships and Linkages with Private Sector .......................................................96
7.5 Training and Capacity Building.................................................................. .......................97
8 G O V E R N A N C E ...................... .................................................................................................................101
8.1 B ackg rou n d ............................................................................................................................... 101
8.2 The High Cost to CIMMYT of Inadequate Governance .........................................................101
8.3 General Assessment of CIMMYT's Governance..........................................102
8.4 Defining the Role and Work of the Board more Effectively..............................................102
8.5 Board Size and C om position ...................................................................... ...................... 104
8.6 B o ard L ead ersh ip ...................... .....................................................................................................106
8.7 G overnan ce Inform action ............................................................................. ...................... 106
8.8 Board Orientation and Learning ................................................................ ......................108
8.9 Board Operations and Processes................................................................ ......................108
8.10 R relationship w ith th e D G ............................................................................ ............................109
8.11 Board Oversight of Strategy and Results.................................................. ......................110
8.12 R esou rce D develop m en t ............................................................................... ............................111
8.13 B board C om m ittees.................................................................................. ........................................ 111
8.14 Finance and Audit Committees ................................................................. ......................112
8.15 A d d ition al issue es...................... ...................................................................................................... 112
9 MANAGEMENT AND FINANCE ................................................ ...........................................113
9.1 L egal Statu s of th e C en ter .............................................................................. .........................113
9.2 Leadership and Management................................................... ........................................114
9.3 R source M mobilization .................................................................................... ...................... 119
9.4 Corporate Service Management................................................................. ......................120
9.5 In form action T technology .............................................................................. ............................134
9 .6 L ib rary .............................................................................................. ......................................... 13 5
9.7 Administration and Operations................................................................. ......................135
9.8 R isk M an agem en t ................................................................................... .................................137
9.9 Intellectual Property Management ........................................ .........................................138
9.10 Center Commissioned External Reviews........................ .............................................139
9.11 Interim External Review of Major Change and Restructuring Plans...................................... 139
10 CONCLUDING COMMENTS............................................................................. ......................141
10.1 C IM M Y T T od ay .............................................................................................................................141
10.2 C IM M Y T T om orrow ....................................................... .........................................................142
10 .3 C on clu sion s ........................................................................................ .................................... 14 3
A C K N O W LED G EM EN TS...................... .........................................................................................................145
A P P E N D IC E S ............................................................ ....................................... ..... ............. ...................14 7
BIO G RA PH IC A L IN FO RM A TIO N .............................................................................. ............................148
This is the report of the Fifth External Program and Management Review (EPMR) Panel
appointed to evaluate the research program and management of the International Maize and
Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). The composition of the Review Panel and short
biodata of its members are given in Appendix I. The Terms of Reference for this Review are
found in Appendix II. The Guidelines for EPMRs are presented in Appendix III.
The EPMR Panel was guided by the general objectives of EPMRs: (a) providing the CGIAR
members with an independent and rigorous assessment of the institutional health and
contribution of the Center; and (b) providing the Center and its collaborators with
assessment information that complements or validates their own evaluation effort. It
reviewed CIMMYT's past performance on the basis of the outputs, outcomes and impact of
the program structure as it was until 2004, namely Wheat, Maize, Economics and Natural
Resources Programs. It reviewed the performance, institutional health, strategy, vision and
potential of the new programs in the light of CIMMYT's role in reaching the poor farming
populations who depend on maize and wheat.
The Panel itinerary is provided in Appendix IV. The information, on which the Panel based
its decisions regarding the key concerns and issues, and its assessments and conclusions, was
gathered in a number of ways. These included:
* numerous documents provided by CIMMYT, the Science Council, and the CGIAR
Secretariat, which were made available to the Panel in an EPMR Internet site and are
listed in Appendix V;
* additional documentation, including records, plans, data and scientific articles provided
to the Panel during the Initial and Main Phases, some of which are referenced in the
* documentation gathered and prepared to facilitate the strategic planning process,
including compilation of stakeholder perceptions;
* documentation prepared for the CIMMYT Board meeting, observations during the
meeting, and interviews of individual Board members;
* group meetings with Program and Management staff during the visits to the Center,
including tele- and video-conferences with out-posted staff, followed up by individual
meetings with Center staff;
* information from the CIMMYT staff questionnaire survey;
* discussions with CIMMYT stakeholders and staff during visits in Bangladesh and in
Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Kenya; and
* additional contacts with sister Centers and key stakeholders within and outside the
The Panel's point of departure was the 4th EPMR of CIMMYT and its key recommendations
and analysis. The recommendations, CIMMYT's responses and the Panel's observation on
progress are given in Appendix VI.
The Panel made every effort to conduct the review in an open and transparent manner.
CIMMYT has a much dispersed staff and during both the Initial and Main Phase even those
staff based at the headquarters were travelling or working in Obregon, at CIMMYT research
station in Northern Mexico. Video and tele-conferencing was organised to facilitate direct
contact with out-posted staff, and the Panel members also followed up through-mail and
phone calls. During the Main Phase the Panel Chair held daily briefings with the CIMMYT
DG for discussing emerging issues and practical arrangements. Within the limited time
available all Panel members interacted with key Management and Program staff to discuss
important issues and receive clarification. The draft chapters were shared with CIMMYT
management for correction of factual errors.
This review covers the period since the Fourth EPMR which was initiated in 1997. During
this time the Center has seen marked change both internally and in its external environment.
Internally, the Center has been through a deep financial crisis which coincided with the
appointment of a new DG in 2002, the development of a new mission and strategic plan
which led to the implementation of a new research program structure, and a radical shift in
its staff profile as a result of staff downsizing and a staff renewal program to better align its
staff competencies with the new program structure. It has also been engaged in lengthy
discussions with a sister Center, IRRI, about close alliance, possibly merger, and a decision
on closer collaboration has been reached.
The changes in the external environment include the "gene revolution" in molecular genetics
and genomics, the controversy surrounding the development and release of genetically
modified organisms (GMOs), the "IT revolution" in information sciences and bioinformatics,
growing private investment in plant breeding of non-hybrid crops, the changing intellectual
property environment, the evolution of the CGIAR including the continuing shift in funding
from unrestricted to restricted and introduction of Challenge Programs. Clearly, CIMMYT is
a Center in transition reforming and reshaping itself to face a rapidly changing external
Given the dynamic environment in which CIMMYT now operates and the considerable but
relatively recent internal change, the Panel conducted Fifth EPMR in two parts. A
retrospective part, where we assessed the outputs and impacts of the Center, was based on
the old program structure since the new Programs had not been in place long enough to
have had an impact in their own right; and a prospective part, based on the new program
structure, where we critically examined the appropriateness of CIMMYT today to fulfil its
mission into the future. We attempted a comprehensive and rigorous review of CIMMYT's
governance, management and research that included meetings with the Board members,
scientists, administrators, a range of stakeholders and site visits to four countries.
Does CIMMYT have a Future?
The first question the Panel asked was- Are the changes CIMMYT is going through those of a
dynamic organization with a clear and unique mission positioning itself to realize that
mission, or simply the death throes of an organization that has past its use by date? In short-
Does CIMMYT have a future?
The argument against a future role for CIMMYT is simple. CIMMYT's own analyses
indicated that there are more than ample supplies of both wheat and maize in the world to
meet current global demand so that prices are at historically low levels in real terms. Further,
that for the foreseeable future, growth in supply can more than match growth in demand
given the expected improvements in technology generated by the very large investment
(several orders of magnitude greater than CIMMYT's total budget) by both developed and
the more rapidly developing countries in wheat and maize breeding and research.
The counterargument is based on the fact that the primary target for CIMMYT's research are
the more than 500 million people in the world who are resource poor farmers and their
families who live in extreme poverty, grow their own food, and often rely on wheat and
maize as their primary source of calories. For these farmers, the global levels of production of
wheat and maize, as well as their price, are largely irrelevant. Further, the research outputs
targeted at large scale commercial farmers operating in high input production systems in
developed, and the more rapidly developing, countries seldom spillover to resource poor
farmers in low yielding, low input environments typically subject to multiple biotic and
The Panel therefore concluded that the case for the continued support of CIMMYT in
developing germplasm with multiple stress resistance specifically targeted at resource poor
farmers was strong and clear. Such improved germplasm that was not only accessible to
resource poor farmers but specifically targeted to their needs was essential if they were to
benefit from the ongoing scientific advances in genetics, genomics, and breeding.
CIMMYT's Board of Trustees has been one of the more stable components of the Centers
organizational structure over the last three years. It is composed of a set of expert, talented
and experienced individuals. Yet, collectively the Board, which carries ultimate
responsibility for maintaining adequate internal controls, failed in its oversight role of the
Center's finances and management. The cost of this failure was borne not by the Board but
by the staff and Programs of the Center.
The Board has moved to improve its structure and performance in recent years so that the
Governance today at CIMMYT is better than it was in 2001/2. However, it is still not good
enough and the Panel identified several areas of the Board's operations that require remedial
attention. These include, but are not limited to:
* The size composition and committee structure of the Board
* Board orientation and learning
* Board evaluation of the DG, the Board Chair and itself
* Board oversight of the Centers finances and resource development
A number of the issues identified by the Panel are not unique to the CIMMYT Board but are
shared to varying degrees by the Boards of all the CGIAR Centers. In an Appendix to this
report the Panel proposes a more functional and strategic approach to Center Governance as
a means of heightening awareness of the issues across the CGIAR and perhaps invoking a
coordinated system wide approach to their resolution.
The present DG of CIMMYT, faced with an extremely difficult financial and management
situation when he arrived in mid-2002, has moved decisively to stabilize the finances of the
Center, streamline the management structure, and strengthen the control and monitoring
mechanisms of the Centers operations. However, while much has been achieved in
improving the management of CIMMYT over the last two years, there are areas where
significant problems still exist which will require remedial action by the management in the
Several of these problems are not new. For example, the problems identified by this review,
including the lack of an effective computerized financial management system, a functioning
project management system and the lack of a full cost recovery/pricing system for support
services, were all issues identified in the last EPMR. Nothing was done to resolve these
issues in the intervening 7 years, which makes their resolution now more pressing. The Panel
has also suggested that steps be taken to improve the internal and external audit functions at
the Center (Chapter 9).
The Panel surveyed both IRS and NRS staff as part of the review process. The survey
indicated there was a significant problem with staff morale in the Center, which is perhaps
not surprising given the recent financial problems and staff downsizing, but it was also
clear that staff were unhappy with several aspects of CIMMYT's HR policies and processes.
The Panel feels these problems require urgent corrective action to ensure CIMMYT can
continue to attract and retain good staff.
In 2002 the CIMMYT Board and new DG initiated a wide ranging and comprehensive
planning process which resulted in a new mission, organizational structure, and strategic
plan for the Center. The planning process itself was excellent thorough, inclusive of
CIMMYT stakeholders, systematic and well documented. The new mission, while ambitious,
is in line with the CGIAR goals of alleviating poverty, increasing food security and
improving sustainability. The new strategic plan provides a strong vision for CIMMYT in the
future where priority will be given to a holistic approach to understanding livelihood
systems, impact -oriented Programs that will catalyze interdisciplinary research,
decentralization of Programs away from Mexico, and partnerships that can leverage capacity
and help accelerate results. It also describes a new program structure for the Center which is
a matrix of 2 global and 4 ecoregional interdisciplinary Research Programs and 5 disciplinary
Groups (Chapter 2).
However, the new strategic plan also suffers from some significant deficiencies. Perhaps the
most important was the absence of clearly defined goals, the heart of an effective strategic
plan that would drive priority setting and resource mobilization and allocation. It also lacked
a clear definition of the areas of wheat and maize research targeted at reducing poverty
where CIMMYT had a strong comparative advantage, another key to effective priority
setting. The Panel included in its recommendations that these deficiencies be rectified and
that senior management, as well as the 6 new Program Directors who are all now in place,
develop specific goals for the strategy as well as a business strategic plan and operational
plans to facilitate the successful implementation of the new strategy in a dynamic and
challenging environment that CIMMYT finds itself.
Accomplishments and Impact
Despite the ongoing funding crisis at CIMMYT for much of the review period and the
turmoil it invariably created, the Panel was very pleased to find that CIMMYT's scientific
staff continued to produce a range of outstanding outputs. In the case of wheat, these include
high yielding bread wheat lines in a range of maturity classes with durable rust resistance
and improved adaptation to drought stressed environments. In the case of maize, a major
output has also been improved germplasm with specific traits including enhanced drought
tolerance, herbicide resistance to facilitate Striga control, and Quality Protein Maize. In the
case of Natural Resource Management, the outputs include the development of conservation
agriculture practices -zero tillage, crop rotations and raised beds that reduce soil
degradation and water use and increase production.
CIMMYT also produced strong evidence of the impact of its work. A formal study of the
value of durable multigenic resistance to leaf rust in developing country agriculture
estimated the net present value of the research since its inception was US$ 5.36 billion and
the benefit: cost ratio was 27:1. CIMMYT's scientists received the World Food Prize in 2002
for work in the development of Quality Protein Maize (QPM) which is now being grown on
nearly one million hectares worldwide. Zero-till and raised beds are also being widely
adopted in a range of cropping systems in developing counties, particularly in Asia.
The Panel feels that CIMMYT should be congratulated for its continuing strong practical
outputs from its science that continue to have a strong positive impact on the livelihoods of
resource poor farmers.
Quality and Relevance of Science
The Panel examined a number of components of the quality of science and relevance of
science at CIMMYT.
Science relevance is primarily determined by the quality and effectiveness of the strategic
planning, priority setting and resource allocation processes put in place by the Center.
Judging by the outstanding impacts of CIMMYT's research, there is no question as to the
relevance of past research programs. Due to the lack of a fully articulated strategic plan, with
clear goals and priorities, the Panel found it difficult to judge the relevance of CIMMYT's
research going forward.
Staff quality, research infrastructure and quality assurance processes are all important in
determining the quality of science. Staff quality at CIMMYT was good to very good. The
Panel was favourably impressed by the uniformly high quality of the newly appointed
directors of CIMMYT's new Research Programs. However, the research infrastructure at
CIMMYT is highly variable and has been often been neglected during the ongoing financial
crisis. Considerable investment will be required to bring it up to the level expected of an
international research institute in a number of areas (Chapters 5 and 6).
The internal and external quality assurance procedures at CIMMYT appear to be operating
well except in two areas. One is the evaluation of staff performance which the staff, but
perhaps not management, thought was inadequate. The other was the very limited use by
the Center of CCER's to monitor the quality of science of its Programs.
In an attempt to assess the overall quality of science in the Center, the Panel compared the
record of publications in refereed international journals of CIMMYT scientists against the
record of scientists in IRRI. Overall IRRI staff published more papers than CIMMYT staff,
with a greater proportion of staff at CIMMYT producing less than one paper per year than
the staff at IRRI. While publications in refereed journals are only one indicator of science
quality, it is widely used internationally, and would be a useful way for CIMMYT to show
improvement in the future.
Implementation of the New Program Structure
CIMMYT is in the process of implementing its new program structure based on a matrix of 2
global and 4 ecoregional Research Programs, which deliver outputs and impacts, and 5
Disciplinary Groups, which ensure continuing scientific excellence. While major steps have
been taken by CIMMYT in implementing its new program structure, there are still
outstanding issues which if left unresolved may cause significant problems in the future.
Matrix management systems are complex and can be difficult to effectively implement. They
require scientists to manage staff, resources and relationships, skills they may not have
developed to the level required. The Panel felt that CIMMYT was underestimating the
difficulty in implementing its new matrix management system and needed to put in place
detailed implementation plans to make it operational including:
* Definition of the responsibilities and authorities of Program Directors and Disciplinary
* Development of operating procedures for all staff with roles and responsibilities
* Provision of leadership and management training for senior scientific and management
* Streamlining and revision of the support systems and processes of the Center
The Panel also critically examined the progress towards the implementation of the MTP
projects for each Research Program (Chapter 4). While the Panel raised specific issues in
relation to a number of the Programs it was clear that it was not yet possible to critically
assess the capacity of the new Programs to deliver their planned outputs and impacts. The
Panel therefore strongly recommends that the CIMMYT Board and management undertake a
mid-term review in 2007 to assess progress towards the full implementation of the new
structure and Programs.
CIMMYT is clearly a Center in transition. It has to a degree stabilized its financial situation
and put in place a plan to rebuild its financial reserves. It has developed a new Mission,
Strategic Plan, and Program structure through a comprehensive and inclusive consultation
process and is well down the road in implementing change. It has put a new management
team in place and gone through a significant staff renewal process. The Center is now poised
to move forward into the future. There are still outstanding issues as always but for the most
part the hard work is behind it.
The Panel is convinced that a compelling case exists for the continuation of CIMMYT to
develop germplasm resistant to multiple biotic and abiotic stresses and designed to meet the
needs of resource poor farmers, dependent on wheat or maize, living in harsh environments.
To a great degree these are the forgotten people; the advances in agricultural research and
development over the last fifty years have largely passed them by, and the varieties they
grow and their yields have often been static for decades. For the first time, the combination
of a well characterized collection of genetic resources and modern genetic technologies make
the development of improved germplasm with significantly increased yields for such
difficult environments an achievable goal. CIMMYT is uniquely placed to achieve this goal.
2 CIMMYT's New Strategy
1. The Panel recommends that senior Management and Program Directors undertake a
much more rigorous process to define goals for the new strategy that provide a framework
within which to organize projects and activities and against which progress in meeting the
goals can be measured. In addition to strengthening the implementation of the new strategy,
the process will enable the Program Directors as a team to identify a set of goals that are
congruent across the Center.
2. The Panel recommends that CIMMYT develop a business strategic plan that will
support the successful implementation of the new strategy in the face of a dynamic financial
3. The Panel recommends that CIMMYT Management and Board undertake a mid-term
review in 2007 focused on the implementation of the new strategy, the efficacy of CIMMYT's
reorganization and the impact of financial capacity on CIMMYT's Programs and operations.
4 The New Research Program
4. To facilitate the establishment of a multidisciplinary approach to conducting ex ante
impact studies, the Panel recommends that increased integration through time allocation be
secured between ITA staff and non-social scientists in the other Programs.
5. The Panel recommends that ITA, in cooperation with the ecoregional Programs,
collect data on the variables that explain the heterogeneity of the existing production
functions and thus, of yields (both potential and actual) that express differences attributable
to productivity gaps within the same agroecological region, due to constraints that limit the
adoption of improved technology.
6. The Panel recommends that ITA initiate macroeconomic studies by 2006 in close
cooperation with IFPRI and other CGIAR Centers. The highest priority should be assigned to
sub-Saharan African countries.
7. The Panel recommends that maize research in CIMMYT identify the high priority
Marginal Maize Production Areas (MMPAs) in each mega-environment. Based on such
MMPAs, a seed delivery system for improved cultivars should be developed jointly with
partners as a vehicle to make CIMMYT's upstream maize research results available to
8. The Panel recommends that maize breeding and research efforts in the following
areas be intensified:
* Grain quality characteristics of high priority to end users in MMPAs, combined with
more systematic research and breeding to reduce mycotoxin contamination on the grain;
* Testing and evaluation of breeding materials directly in the MMPAs, for identification of
the best material for release;
* Non-transgenic host plant insect resistance research to speed up the process of
integration of the highly resistant CIMMYT germplasm into new varieties;
* Application of fast track breeding techniques (doubled haploid, MAS, NIR techniques) in
all maize breeding activities in CIMMYT;
* Acquisition, storage and management of maize breeding data to eliminate the current
9. The Panel recommends that:
* Crop management research in TES in the regions be strengthened by allocating NRM
staff time from other Programs, particularly IAP, to TES;
* CIMMYT, TES in particular, seek collaboration with other CGIAR Centers in the region,
including shared appointments of agronomists and other natural resources specialists;
* The Crop and Resource Management Group, TES and other ecoregional Programs
enhance strategic research on natural resource management, particularly for improved
water and nutrient use efficiency.
10. The Panel recommends that the IAP breeding teams work closely with crop
management and social science groups to develop cultivars that are suitable for conservation
agriculture, use water efficiently and are resistant to storage losses.
11. The Panel recommends that IAP undertake long term experiments to evaluate
cropping system sustainability with the results being fully utilized for strategic research as
well as for demonstration purposes.
12. The Panel recommends that IAP increase its research in maize cropping systems and
5 Research Support
13. The Panel recommends that the data acquisition, data management and genebank
user interface be upgraded in the CIMMYT genebank for both wheat and maize as a matter
7 Partnerships and linkages
14. The Panel recommends that:
* Training coordinator position be relocated to an independent Unit reporting directly to
* The Training Unit working together with Program Directors develop a priority
setting tool, both thematic and geographical. The resulting priorities should then be used
to allocate resource to the Programs;
* CIMMYT develop innovative alternative funding schemes for training.
15. To help ensure that CIMMYT builds and sustains high functioning Boards, the Panel
recommends the establishment of a governance committee with responsibility for a range of
activities essential to Board effectiveness, including defining more clearly the role of the
board, developing a more strategic process for identifying and recruiting board members,
assessing board performance on a formal basis, evaluating the performance of members
before re-election, recommending improvements to Board practice, such as meeting design
and preparation, information flow and communication, and developing an orientation and
ongoing education program for members to enhance their performance.
16. The Panel recommends that a dedicated staff person in the DG's office be identified
to serve as the Board Secretary. This position should have sufficient status within the
organization, clear responsibility and also adequate time to provide support and
coordination for the board.
9 Management and Finance
17. The Panel recommends that Management review the staff survey results in detail
with special attention to staff morale, communication of policies, clarity of goals,
performance recognition, and staff evaluation, and take appropriate corrective action as a
matter of urgency.
18. The Panel recommends that Management give priority to reforming financial
management at the Center, including budget, staffing and related systems, with highest
priority given to the development of a computerized financial management system that
provides real on-time financial information to users; and urgently develop (in consultation
with Program staff) a transparent resource allocation process consistent with needs of the
matrix management system.
19. The Panel recommends that Board and Management carefully review the adequacy
of the level of net assets (equity) balance for 2004 which was increased in 2003 by
approximately US$ 2.0 Million from fixed assets write-off and revaluation.
20. The Panel recommends that the Board and Management develop a set of financial
indicators for measuring the Center financial performance and health. The indicators should
supplement those developed by the CGIAR System in close consultation with CGIAR
Secretariat and Center Finance Directors.
21. The Panel recommends that a full cost recovery/pricing system for support services
be implemented to recover the full costs from projects and users of services. This will reduce
the pressure on unrestricted funding and make it available for other high priority activities at
the Center, including building the working capital to the required level.
22. The Panel recommends that Board and Management:
* Make substantial efforts and allocate adequate time for the careful review of the external
audit (at headquarters and regional operations), management letters and the audited
financial statements with the notes;
* Carefully review the annual audit plans and scope of external audit for headquarters
and regional operations;
* Formally assess annually the performance of the external auditors before deciding on
23. The Panel recommends that Board and Management review the scope of internal
audit work and the capabilities of the senior internal auditor and make the required changes
to strengthen this important function.
1 BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
1.1 CIMMYT in a Changing World
CIMMYT was one of the four original Centers established by the CGIAR in 1966 with global
responsibility for wheat and maize. As a result of its early successes and impact in wheat and
more recently, in both wheat and maize, CIMMYT has long been seen as a flagship
institution in the CGIAR. More than three quarters and about one third of the developing
world's total wheat and maize area cultivate varieties with some CIMMYT germplasm
generating some US$ 3 billion in extra grain per year.
CIMMYT has also been a remarkably stable institution. Until recently, both its staffing
profile and the structure of its Research Programs had undergone only relatively modest
incremental changes over the years. However, CIMMYT is now experiencing a period of
profound change which is impacting all aspects of CIMMYT operations. These changes are
being driven by the Board and Management to meet the extraordinary and ongoing changes
in CIMMYT's external environment, to better meet the needs of its stakeholders and
partners, and to modernize the operations of the Center in line with international best
In 2002, as part of this process of change, CIMMYT's Board of Trustees initiated a
comprehensive strategic planning exercise involving input from Board members,
Management, staff and a wide spectrum of external stakeholders and partners. Using this
input the Center developed a new mission and strategic plan (CIMMYT, 2004) which called
for a radical reorganization of CIMMYT's Research Program. At the time of this EPMR,
CIMMYT had taken significant steps in the implementation of its new program structure and
strategy, which has involved marked changes in the staffing profile of the Center and in the
responsibilities of many staff. While much has been achieved, it is also clear much remains to
Because of this the timing of the EPMR has been raised as an issue. It has been suggested
that, given the many and significant changes to the program, structure and staff of CIMMYT
called for under the new strategic plan, the EPMR should have been delayed and that more
time should have been allowed for the Center to implement its plan. However, the
arguments against further delay were threefold. First, the last EPMR was initiated eight
years ago in 1997, a period that already substantially exceeds the normal interval between
reviews of CGIAR Centers. Second, a major purpose of the EPMR is to assess the outputs
and impacts of CIMMYT's research and these are likely to be only marginally affected by
recent staff and structural changes. Finally, it was felt that the structural and programmatic
changes now being implemented at CIMMYT will need to be in place for several years before
their impact can be fully and objectively evaluated.
In terms of the conduct of the EPMR, the fact that the programmatic and structural changes
were still being implemented at the time of the review meant that the retrospective
assessment was done on the basis of the old program and structures, while the forward
looking or prospective aspects, which constitute a major part of the review, were based on
the new structure and programs.
1.2 Drivers of Change
Over recent years CIMMYT has been confronted with an unprecedented suite of interacting
changes in its operating environment, which are important in assessing CIMMYT's new
strategic direction. Several of the more important drivers of change are considered below.
1.2.1 Level and Type of Financial Support
In 2002 CIMMYT experienced a significant financial crisis. This crisis was triggered by the
fact that between 1997 and 2002 CIMMYT maintained an overly ambitious program of
research that eroded the working capital reserve from more than US$ 9 million to just
US$ 0.2 million (the equivalent of two days of working capital). It was exacerbated by a
number of other factors including: (i) a decrease in the proportion of unrestricted core
funding to the Center from 55% in 1997 to 36% in 2005; (ii) moves to tap non-traditional
funding sources which proved to be unreliable or ephemeral; and (iii) increased standard of
living in Mexico and a significant revaluation of the Mexican peso against the US dollar
which have dramatically increased labour costs in the host country. The situation was also
exacerbated by inadequate financial management systems within the Center.
This financial crisis led to several rounds of staff reductions over 2002-2004. In 2005
CIMMYT has a projected budget of US$ 37.46 million of which US$ 13.49 million is
unrestricted and US$ 23.97 million restricted or special project funding. It employs 101
Internationally Recruited Staff (IRS) and postdoctoral fellows down froml20 in 1997. It also
has a total of 647 Nationally Recruited Staff (NRS).
1.2.2 Changes in the CGIAR
During the last seven years the CGIAR has itself gone through a process of review and
renewal. The CGIAR adopted a new vision, mission and strategy in 2000 which stressed
sustainable food security and poverty reduction in developing countries through scientific
research and research related activities. The new strategy was based on 7 planks: (i) Focus on
people and poverty reduction; (ii) Utilization of modern science to bear on difficult to
address causes of poverty; (iii) Identification of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia as
regions of highest priority; (iv) Adoption of a regional approach to research; (v) Emphasis on
partnerships to improve efficiency and effectiveness in achieving poverty reduction and food
security; (vi) Utilization of a task force approach to improve impact across the CGIAR
System; and (vii) Strengthening the role of the CGIAR as a catalyst, integrator and
disseminator of knowledge.
In 2001 the System implemented a major program of reform based on 'four pillars of change:
* Adoption of a programmatic approach to CGIAR research and endorsement of Challenge
* Approval of an annual general meeting and creation of an Executive Council (ExCo)
* Transformation of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) into a Science Council
* Creation of a Systems Office to support the work of all parts of the System
With the four 'pillars of change' in place the CGIAR is now giving priority to reforms in the
Centers and in particular, on programmatic and structural alignments of the Centers in
focusing on regional and global problems. This prompted the Center Directors Committee to
examine ways of facilitating greater co-operation and collective action amongst the Centers
at a retreat in Addis Ababa in July 2004. A key recommendation of the retreat was the formal
establishment of a Future Harvest Alliance with the CDC acting as the Executive of the
Alliance and the Committee of Board Chairs as the Alliance Board. Another key
recommendation was the establishment of set of ten 'guiding principles' to facilitate future
However, despite all the changes that have occurred, there are still significant unresolved
issues and tensions in the CGIAR that seriously impact on the operation of individual
Centers. One of these has been the rapid erosion of core support for the Centers by donor
agencies over the 1990s and its only partial replacement by special project funding. This
trend has been exacerbated by the development of the CPs and by the reluctance of some
donors who do provide unrestricted core funds to fund the overhead costs of special
projects. A second has been the strong push in recent years for collective action by the
Centers while emphasizing, through actions such as linking part of the World Bank
contribution to Centers to the level of funds raised, their need to compete.
1.2.3 Rapid Advances in Molecular Genetics and Genomics
The last decade has seen rapid advances in the science underpinning plant improvement,
especially in the areas of molecular genetics and genomics, and the rate of change is expected
to accelerate rapidly over the coming decade. These advances are being driven by strong
investments by private companies and by governments not only in developed countries, but
in some of the larger and more rapidly developing countries, through Universities or public
research institutes. Further the scale of investments dwarfs that of the CGIAR as a whole, let
alone individual Centers such as CIMMYT.
To date much of the pioneering work in the genomics of cereals has been in rice because of
its smaller genome, however, increasing investment is now being made in maize and wheat.
Further, synteny of the grass genomes will allow the rapid use of molecular genetic
information across all species. The implications going forward for CIMMYT are severalfold.
First, the advances in genomics at the more applied end are likely to flow quickly through to
crop improvement programs making greater investment by CIMMYT in areas such as
marker assisted selection (MAS), molecular fingerprinting of genebank accessions,
transformation technology and gene and trait mapping, a critical priority if CIMMYT is to
maintain modern and competitive programs and assist developing country NARS to access
and use these technologies.
Second, with respect to gene discovery and more upstream research, CIMMYT is likely to be
a very minor player amongst a large field of alternate suppliers in developed countries,
especially in maize but increasingly in wheat. Therefore it will need to concentrate its limited
resources in those areas that are of priority interest to smallholder farmers and where
CIMMYT has a competitive advantage. As a consequence, CIMMYT will need access to the
advances made by others to ensure its wheat and maize improvement programs remain
competitive and it will need to develop the relationships and mechanisms that facilitate this
Third, one of CIMMYT's strong advantages at this time is the maize and wheat genetic
resources it holds in trust as these can now be mined much more rapidly than in the past.
However, even here there are numerous alternative suppliers, and with synteny, unless
CIMMYT moves to make its collections a key asset in the global research effort, it will
quickly be replaced by alternatives.
1.2.4 Information Technology
Information technology (IT) has also advanced rapidly over the last two decades so that the
collection, storage and manipulation of very large data sets are now potentially routine. The
capacity to acquire, store and manipulate large bodies of data is critical to cutting edge
research in areas such as plant breeding, genetic resources, genomics and geographic
information systems (GIS). Hence if CIMMYT is to remain competitive in research in these
areas it will need to have up to date capacity in IT.
1.2.5 Intellectual Property Rights
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) have emerged as a major issue for the CGIAR Centers,
particularly over the last decade. Several factors have contributed to the growing importance
and complexity of IPR for the Centers. First, with respect to genetic resources, the
Convention on Biological Diversity, which came into effect in 1998, declared that nations
have sovereignty over the genetic resources in their territory and required those who wish to
collect genetic resources to enter into formal agreements with the appropriate government
authorities regarding what can be collected and the future disposition of these materials.
This was followed by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and
Agriculture (International Treaty on PGRFA) which came into force in 2004, which
establishes a multilateral system for the exchange of germplasm for the major food crops
including wheat and maize under agreed terms, including a standardized Material Transfer
Agreement. The International Treaty on PGRFA obliges CIMMYT, if it enters into agreement
with the Governing Body of the Treaty, to provide the materials held in its genebank on trust
to member countries under the terms of the Treaty but also guarantees the member states
will make materials they own available to CIMMYT under the same terms. The Treaty
therefore provides a strong legal framework for germplasm exchange within which
CIMMYT and a wide spectrum of its partners can operate with confidence into the future.
Second, with respect to patents, the 1994 Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property (TRIPS) imposed on all member states the obligation to provide at least minimum
levels of IPR protection including IPR protection for plant varieties, either through patents or
an effective sui generis system or both, and biotechnological innovations. The growth in
private investment in the biosciences and plant breeding has been matched by the growth in
the use of patents to protect innovations so they can be commercially exploited by their
owners. As a result of the TRIPS agreements, patent applicants are increasingly seeking
protection in developing countries. In addition many public institutions including
universities in developed and developing countries are seeking IPR protection for their
innovations if this is financially advantageous. Hence, while IPR issues are already a matter
of concern for CIMMYT and the CGIAR they are likely to increase rapidly in importance in
the coming years. The Center as well as the CGIAR System needs to work with developing
country institutions to explore new ways of making the technologies poor farmers need
available to them.
1.2.6 Private Investment in Plant Breeding
Private companies have long dominated the commercial breeding sector in crops such as
maize, sorghum and sunflowers where hybrid technologies, which force farmers to purchase
new seed each year and allow companies to profit from their investment in cultivar
development, were readily available. In contrast, up until relatively recently the breeding of
non-hybrid crop cultivars was, with some minor exceptions, undertaken by the public sector.
However, the use of intellectual property protection either in the form of plant breeders'
rights or patents and coupled with seed or end-point royalties, have opened the way for
profitable private investment in the commercial breeding of non-hybrid varieties of crops
such as wheat, barley and rice where farmers have traditionally saved their own seed.
Consequently, privatization of the breeding of crops that were once exclusively in the public
domain is expanding rapidly not only in developed countries but also in a number of the
stronger developing countries.
The investment by private companies is also motivated by recognition of the fact that
ultimately the only way for private capital to profit from investments in agricultural
biotechnology and genomics is through seed sales to farmers. Unless the products developed
by these new technologies find their way into farmers fields they will not be profitable, and
the only way to do this generally is through improved seeds.
With the growth in private investment, public investment is likely to rapidly diminish.
Governments in particular invested in the breeding of crops such as wheat because of market
failure. If that market no longer fails and is being met by strong private investment, then
governments are likely to withdraw. Of course, private companies will not invest in variety
development for more marginal areas where profits are difficult to generate. The trend
towards the replacement of government support by private investment in the breeding of
non-hybrid crops has important implications for CIMMYT. In particular, in countries and
regions that can support a strong seed industry, corporate rather than public breeding
programs are likely to become increasingly important as partners and users of CIMMYT's
improved germplasm over the coming decade. In contrast, in marginal areas which cannot
support a viable commercial seed industry, government programs are likely to be replaced
1.3 Wheat and Maize Production
1.3.1 Global Overview
Wheat is the primary grain consumed by people around the world. About 75% of the world's
wheat is consumed directly, 15% is consumed indirectly as animal products, and another
10% is used for seed and industrial use. The global consumption of wheat doubled in the last
thirty years to more than 600 million tons per year in recent years. Global production has
matched global consumption over that period principally due to increased yield per ha and,
as a result, global prices have declined over many years, with a few minor exceptions, and
are now at historic lows in real terms. Wheat continues to be the most highly traded food
grain averaging about 105 million tons over the last decade or about 20% of world wheat
Wheat consumption is expected to continue to grow over the next 20 years, perhaps a little
more slowly than it has in the last decade, due to increased population growth, increasing
urbanization and its associated changes in dietary patterns, and increasing incomes. This
future growth in wheat consumption is expected to originate in developing countries where
population is growing at about 1.5% per year compared to about zero growth on average in
developed countries. In addition urbanization is a phenomenon that is largely confined to
the developing world. Wheat production is expected to match the rise in consumption over
the next 20 years due to further technological based improvements in yield per ha or
increased area of production.
Maize consumption has also more than doubled over the last thirty years to about 590
million tons per year. In the case of maize about 66% of production of mainly yellow maize
goes to feed while 17% of mainly white maize goes to food. The remaining 17 per cent goes
to industrial uses and seed. Global production of maize has also kept pace with consumption
for many years keeping downward pressure on prices, so that like wheat, maize prices are at
historical lows in real terms. Maize is the most highly traded feed grain with about 77 million
tons or about 13% going into international trade in recent years.
Maize consumption is projected to expand at roughly the same rate as it has in recent years.
The composition of the demand is expected to change with feed use increasing more rapidly
than food use in both developed and developing countries. Hence the market for yellow
maize will increase relative to the market for white maize. However, the market for white
maize is likely to remain strong in Mexico, Central America, and eastern and southern
Africa. At a global level maize production is likely to match global demand for the
foreseeable future since most of the major producing countries have considerable capacity to
expand production in response to increased demand.
1.3.2 Developing Country Overview
While the global outlook for wheat and maize is one of ample supply, both now and in the
foreseeable future, and stable or decreasing real prices, the outlook for developing countries,
especially the slower developing countries is far less optimistic. Maize and wheat occupy just
over 190 million ha in developing countries and together account for more than 40% of the
crop calories consumed in those countries. Developing countries use more than 50% of both
maize and wheat but produce only about 45% of the total production of each crop. Use of
these crops in developing countries is expected to increase to close to 65% of total world
production by 2020, while production is expected to increase to only 50% of the total. Today
wheat and maize represent a significant proportion of developing country food imports (43
and 28% respectively) and this is expected to grow, especially in Central and West Asia and
North Africa (CWANA), East Asia and SSA, as the deficit in developing country production
versus utilization increases.
1.4 Is There a Future for CIMMYT?
CIMMYT has been highly successful since its establishment principally because of the global
impact of its germplasm development activities initially in wheat, and more recently, in both
wheat and maize. While CIMMYT has produced a range of other outputs that complement
its improved germplasm, and enhance their impact on poverty reduction, germplasm
development has remained the core of its activities since its inception. However, the
increasing privatization of plant breeding, the enormous investment in biotechnology and
breeding not only by private companies but by governments and public institutions in the
developed and the larger developing countries, as well as the ample current and continuing
global supply of wheat and maize, has raised the question of whether CIMMYT as it stands
today has a role to play in the medium to longer term. Do the radical changes being
implemented reflect a leaner, better targeted organization that can significantly reduce
poverty in the future or do they merely represent the death throes of an organization that has
a limited short term future? The Review Panel considered this issue in two parts: (i) whether
a case could be made for continuing investment in a Center that produces improved wheat
and maize germplasm targeted at poor farmers as an international public good; and (ii)
whether the current institutional arrangements for CIMMYT were optimal for it to carry out
such a task if it were justified. Each of these issues is discussed below.
1.4.1 Case for Germplasm Development of Wheat and Maize
The Review Panel concluded that the case for a continued strong focus by the CIMMYT on
germplasm development was clear. More than one billion people in the world live in
extreme poverty (defined as earning less than US$ I/day), concentrated in East Asia, South
Asia and SSA. Of these, more than 70% live in rural areas, and about 500 million are
smallholder farmers and their families. These farming families are largely dependent on the
food they produce themselves from wheat (South Asia), maize (SSA) and rice (East Asia)
based farming systems. The most important initial step in escaping from rural poverty in
most low-income countries is raising the output of the smallholder farmers through
improved production systems, of which improved cultivars are a critical element. More
importantly, the benefits of research in many areas such as genetic resources, wide crosses,
biotechnology, genomics and durable disease resistance, can only be delivered to farmers
through improved germplasm and commercial cultivars.
In the past CIMMYT has focused much of its research effort on the large number of the
worlds poor who live in densely populated rural areas where cropping systems are often
irrigated, intensive, complex and potentially highly productive. The reasons for this were
both the scale of these systems and the potential for research to achieve significant impact.
While the impact of CIMMYT and others in these areas has been substantial, there is a strong
continuing need for maintenance breeding and further research to maintain the
sustainability of these areas. More recently the Center has broadened its focus to include
smallholder farmers in poorly productive environments, which are usually rainfed and
suffer from multiple biotic and abiotic stresses, and where past efforts to improve
productivity and livelihoods have had very limited impacts. However, regardless of the
environments in which these farmers farm, it is absolutely clear that without improved
cultivars in their fields, which meet their specific needs, smallholder farmers will become
mere bystanders to the worldwide revolution in molecular genetics and genomics, and the
use of these tools in the innovative mining of the ex situ genetic resource collections of crops
such as wheat and maize for useful genes.
While the need for improved germplasm is clear, does CIMMYT need to play a continuing
role in germplasm development targeted specifically at small stakeholders? There has been
enormous public and private investment in biotechnology and the improvement of the major
cereal crops, including wheat and maize, in developed countries as well as the stronger and
faster growing developing countries. The level of external investment in these areas dwarfs
that in the CGIAR Centers individually and as a whole. However, the prime focus of this
external global investment is on large scale commercial farmers operating in sophisticated
high input production systems. It is not aimed at developing germplasm for poor
smallholder farmers and especially those in low yielding, low input environments.
While there may be spillovers from research in developed countries to developing countries
it is likely to be limited to large commercial farms. Experience over the last thirty years has
demonstrated unequivocally that smallholder farmers enjoy very limited spillover benefits
from breeding and biotechnology research in developed countries. For example, the
intensive research in maize breeding and biotechnology in the USA and Europe over this
period has had no real direct impact on the smallholder farmers in SSA. The Review Panel
therefore concluded that an organization such as CIMMYT which produced international
public goods that were not only accessible to smallholder farmers, but tailored to their needs,
was critical if smallholder farmers were to benefit from the ongoing scientific advances in
genetics, genomics and breeding.
The Panel recognizes that germplasm development alone will not necessarily raise the
productivity for smallholder farmers in maize and wheat based farming systems in difficult
environments. Rather, it is a primary element that in combination with improved crop
management practices, and changes in other factors including agricultural policy variables,
can significantly boost productivity. The Panel also recognized that raising productivity is
also only a first step in raising most smallholder farmer households out of poverty. New
income generating enterprises, both on and off farm, will have to enter into their livelihood
Nevertheless, it is CIMMYT's collection of maize and wheat genetic resources, expertise and
effectiveness in plant breeding for low input, high stress environments, and capacity to act as
a bridge to ensure the benefits of the advances in molecular genetics and genomics reach
smallholder farmers, which are its unique strengths.
1.4.2 Institutional Arrangements
Since its establishment CIMMYT has had the global mandate within the CGIAR for research
on wheat and maize. However, research on the two crops was run in parallel Programs
within the same institution, with only limited interaction between the Wheat and Maize
Programs. This separation extended to basic functions such as the conservation of the genetic
resources of wheat and maize held in trust by CIMMYT, where it would be expected that a
joint gene bank program would have generated significant efficiencies. Because of this, it was
often suggested that the two Programs should be placed in separate institutes with the
Wheat Program remaining in Mexico or perhaps transferred to ICARDA with a focus on the
CWANA region and, and the Maize Program moved to a separate institute in Africa.
More recently, following the decision of the CGIAR to adopt an evolutionary approach to
restructuring the Centers and more particularly with the emphasis on reducing competition
between Centers and facilitating greater interaction in achieving global goals, the focus has
been more on amalgamation than fragmentation. In particular, the merging of CIMMYT and
IRRI, among others, to create a new more powerful International Crop Research Center has
been widely canvassed. The questions here are: Should CIMMYT be retained in its present
form? Or alternatively, should it be amalgamated with another institution in whole or
should parts be amalgamated with several institutions?
To its credit the CIMMYT Board during its comprehensive strategic planning process
examined the question of its future as an autonomous entity. The Board decided that of the
range of possible options available they would more formally explore the potential for closer
alliance between CIMMYT and IRRI through discussion between the Board Chairs.
Following these discussions the Boards of the two Centers agreed to explore the alternatives
for a close collaboration ranging from a formal alliance to a full merger. The rationale was
the anticipated gains in international agricultural research and development, especially in
areas such as genetic resources, genomics, IT, and GIS among others. They established an
IRRI-CIMMYT Alliance Working Group of five independent members, hosted by the
Rockefeller Foundation, to formally assess the options of a closer functional alliance of IRRI
and CIMMYT. The Working Group in turn established an Oversight Committee of fifteen
persons selected to represent a broad range of stakeholders to provide input into the
assessment process and also canvassed the major donors as well as the Centers themselves.
The findings of the Working Group were presented to the Boards of CIMMYT and IRRI
meeting separately and concurrently in Shanghai on January 5, 2005 and then to a
subsequent joint meeting of the two Boards on January 7-9, 2005.
At this meeting the Boards agreed formally to establish a new IRRI-CIMMYT alliance and
identified four research priorities for potential first programs of the new Alliance:
* Intensive crop production systems in Asia-specifically, rice-wheat and rice-maize-and
research on crop and resource management, crop genetic improvement, and
* Cereals information units to provide information for researchers and partners working
on genetic improvement and the management of cropping systems involving the three
* Training and knowledge banks for the three crops that would take advantage of modern
technologies to provide training events, the development of learning materials and
education methods, distance learning, web-based knowledge systems, library services,
and logistical support; and
* Climate change research directed at both mitigating and adapting the three crops to
global changes that are affecting temperature, water and other factors having crucial
effects on them.
In addition, to further maximize the operational efficiencies of the two Centers, the IRRI-
CIMMYT Alliance will also share a range of support services. These include services related
to management of regulatory affairs for IPR and biosafety, information and communication
technologies, public awareness, scientific publishing, library services, and external auditing.
It also includes the sharing of the country offices of the two Centers in Bangladesh, China,
India, Iran and Nepal.
Overall the agreed activities of the IRRI-CIMMYT Alliance fall far short of those proposed by
the Working Group. In fact most are already happening in systemwide programs such as the
Rice-Wheat Consortium (RWC) or could be expected to happen between two CGIAR Centers
without the need to establish a special alliance. The lack of progress in achieving greater co-
operation between Centers after many months of negotiations and meetings is likely to lead
to calls for change to be imposed on the Centers from the outside putting more pressure on a
system already under stress in coping with the changes it is facing.
1.5 CIMMYT's Responses to the Fourth EPMR Recommendations
The 4th CIMMYT EPMR in 1997 made a total of 20 Recommendations: 4 on the Wheat
Program, 4 on the Maize Program, 1 on the Applied Biotechnology Center (ABC), 2 on the
Natural Resources Group, 3 on the Economics Program, 4 on Management and 2 on
Governance. CIMMYT's response to these recommendations varied greatly. CIMMYT has
fully implemented or made satisfactory progress on 6 Recommendations: 1, 2, 5, 6, 8 and 11.
The Center has made some progress regarding Recommendations 7, 9 and 10. CIMMYT has
not made progress in implementing Recommendations 3, 4, and 12-20; yet many of these are
still as relevant today as they were in 1997 when they were first formulated despite the
recent changes in CIMMYT's program structure and research focus.
In particular, with respect to the recommendations on the Economics Program, the Panel
feels that the substance of these recommendations is still valid for the work of the Social
Sciences Group. Similarly, the Center has made insufficient progress in implementing the
recommendations on Management and Governance, which again are still valid. Indeed,
given the strong emphasis on Board accountability in today's environment, these
recommendations are probably even more pertinent now than when they were first
formulated in 1997.
The recommendations of the Fourth CIMMYT EPMR, Management response to each
recommendation, the actions taken since by the Center and the Panel's assessment of
CIMMYT's responses are given in Appendix VI.
2 CIMMYT'S NEW STRATEGY
2.1 General Observations on the Plan and the Planning Process
In 2002, the CIMMYT board and new Director General embarked on a wide-ranging
planning process that looked closely at the Center's mission, the global trends influencing
CIMMYT's future, and the perceptions of the Center among partners and stakeholders. The
process also included an internal assessment of strengths and weaknesses.
The plan was driven by the new DG, who naturally brought focus and energy to a process
and result that would position CIMMYT more strategically as an institution and create
momentum for the next stage of its organizational life. The planning process took place
within a global research environment that provoked probing discussions of CIMMYT's role
and value, and at a time when the financial problems CIMMYT faced had the potential to
constrain its capacity for some time.
The process resulted in a new mission and organizational structure for CIMMYT that were
captured in Seeds of Innovation: CIMMYT's Strategy for Helping to Reduce Poverty and
Hunger by 2020. Linked to this document are three supporting documents:
* A digest of the key features of the plan, emphasizing the "heart of the strategy, the mind
of the strategy, the muscle of the strategy and the spirit of the strategy";
* Global Trends Influencing CIMMYT's Future, a report that captures the research and
findings relating to external trends with implications for CIMMYT; and
* Perspectives on CIMMYT's Future, which summarizes an external scan that involved
170 individuals representing a broad cross-section of CIMMYT's stakeholders-donors,
partners, the private sector, and beneficiaries.
For the purpose of this chapter, the review Panel also includes CIMMYT's Medium-Term
Plan (MTP) for 2005-2007 as an additional plan document, since it represents one of the first
expressions of the implementation of the new strategy, and logframes developed by Program
Directors that represent planning and priority setting for the coming budget cycle.
The Panel is acutely aware of the transformative nature of the new plan and the difficulty of
implementing it where capital of different kinds-financial, human, physical and political-
is not at ideal levels. In its review, the Panel looked closely at how critical features of the new
strategy-goal setting, financial and business planning, priority setting and leadership-
have been developed and articulated.
2.2 About the Planning Process
CIMMYT made a deliberate choice to engage in a process that involved extensive
consultation and participation of staff and board as well as a substantial effort to look
outside CIMMYT for information and perspective. A notable effort was made to identify and
explore the external challenges that CIMMYT must navigate and accommodate to be
successful, and a comparable effort was made to invite stakeholders to contribute their views
on CIMMYT's capacities, shortcomings and strategic advantages. CIMMYT also allocated
substantial time and resources to this process at a time when both were at a premium.
Although the Panel had many questions about both the new strategy and its
implementation, the Panel viewed the process overall as positive in an organization that was
making difficult choices and facing uncertainty about its future. The challenge will be
maintaining the energy required to implement the plan fully during the disquieting interval
when new priorities mandated by the strategy are identified and the change associated with
them begins to take place. A particularly acute issue may be assuring staff that the planning
process genuinely modelled a change in the organization's culture to a more collaborative
and inclusive style of working and was not a one-off exercise.
2.3 About the Plan Document
It is worth noting that the Panel chose to write briefly about the plan document before
beginning to discuss the plan itself. There are a number of reasons for this. The principal one
is the substantial scale and complexity of the document and the adjunct material that was
produced simultaneously with it. Another is the rhetorical style of the document which
presented its own challenges to the Panel as it attempted to assess the key elements of the
plan, including the mission shift, the consequences of the shift, and the specific goals and
priorities that CIMMYT has identified to advance its new mission.
The timing of the EPMR also meant that the Panel was looking primarily at two
documents-the main plan document and the MTP for 2005-2007-each of which contained
substantial gaps in terms of specific, legible descriptions of what was substantively different
or new, or proposed to be different or new, as a result of the new strategy. Beyond the
restructured Programs described in these documents, the critical elements that would give
shape and meaning to the new strategy-particularly goals, priorities, projected results, and
resource allocations-were difficult to uncover and assess.
CIMMYT's new mission statement reads:
CIMMYT acts as a catalyst and leader in a global maize and wheat innovation network that
serves the poor in developing countries. Drawing on strong science and effective partnerships,
we create, share, and use knowledge and technology to increase food security, improve the
productivity and profitability of farming systems, and sustain natural resources.
In contrast with the previous mission statement, which stressed the organization's character
as an agricultural research and training center dedicated to helping the poor, and its focus on
increasing the profitability, productivity, and sustainability of maize and wheat farming
systems, the new statement places an emphasis on CIMMYT's role as a catalyst and leader in
innovation and the use of strong science and partnerships as its vehicles for achieving
CIMMYT emphasizes that in redrafting the mission it has put people at the heart of its work,
but that is more evident in the proposed strategy than in the mission statement itself. Unlike
those involved in the process, the Panel does not have the advantage of having invested
emotion and intellectual capital in rethinking and critiquing the essential purpose of
CIMMYT, and so may not bring to the final iteration of the mission an appreciation for the
deeper meaning it has for those who developed it. This is not to dispute the strong sense
within the organization that the poor are now central to CIMMYT's mission in a different
way than in the past, but the Panel looked more closely at the strategy and CIMMYT's
reorganization, rather than the mission statement, for evidence of this new focus on people
and livelihoods as well as at CIMMYT's capacity to achieve results.
The emphasis in the mission and throughout the plan on poverty alleviation raised three
questions for the Panel.
* Is this mission achievable?
In the absence of clearly stated strategic goals that would provide a way to target and
measure impact, it is hard to answer this question. Additionally, among the many
conditions for success, a critical number, such as uncooperative governments, are not
within CIMMYT's or its partners' control.
* Given the mission, the capacity that will be needed to achieve it, and CIMMYT's
historical strengths, is the new strategy the right strategy?
* As resources are re-allocated, will there be further reductions in the breeding activities to
fulfil the new mission and implement the new strategy?
The Panel notes the loss of experienced staff in this area. Does CIMMYT risk the erosion
of its key strategic advantage through undercapitalizing it or failing sufficiently to value
it in the new strategy?
2.5 The New Strategy
In the course of outlining its new strategy and focus, CIMMYT places a priority on a holistic
approach to understanding livelihood systems, impact-oriented Programs that will catalyze
interdisciplinary research, decentralization of Programs, and partnerships that can leverage
capacity and help accelerate results.
The re-organization of Programs describes a transformation in CIMMYT's work to a new
model intended to sustain in a more focused and strategic way its important scientific work,
develop its substantial scientific assets, and enable more measurable improvements in
livelihood in targeted regions and poor populations. CIMMYT's past achievements-the
standards of excellence and historical impact of CIMMYT's work-provided a backdrop for
the new plan that raised a natural concern among Panel members that the new strategy
might diffuse the underlying assets-human, scientific and physical-that produced this
long record of achievement.
The Panel faced a number of challenges in assessing the likely success of the new strategy.
The first was the absence of clearly defined goals that would drive priority setting as well as
resource development and allocation, and that would also provide a baseline against which
results could be measured over time. The word "goal" was elusive throughout the strategy
documents and the search for clarity was not substantially aided by the mid-term 2005-2007
plan or the logframes produced as part of budgeting and priority setting for the coming
The "mind of the strategy" is described in the plan as a set of initiatives:
* Harnessing maize and wheat genetic diversity for humanity
* Strengthening the global maize and wheat innovation network through policies and
institutions, capacity building, and analysis of strategic global issues
* Reducing vulnerability in dry land, stress-prone, food-grain systems by managing risk
* Improving livelihoods and conserving natural resources in tropical agro-ecosystems
* Safeguarding food security in densely populated areas through sustainable
* Increasing food security in Africa through better technology and improved markets
These six initiatives drove the re-structuring of the Programs into two global and four
regional Programs with a proposed multi-disciplinary character, each of which has a
mandate. For example: Programl: Genetic Resources: Harnessing maize and wheat genetic
diversity for humanity, or Program5: Tropical Ecosystems: Improving livelihoods and
conserving natural resources in tropical ecosystems.
As the Panel moved from these descriptions to the MTP, it was increasingly difficult to see a
clear progression from mission to goals and then priorities, to tactics and activities designed
to achieve goals, to resource allocation and evaluation of outputs.
The second challenge the Panel faced in assessing the new strategy was the relative newness
of the plan combined with the degree of staff turnover that coincided with the initial round
of goal and priority setting that took place in late 2004. It seems clear that Program Directors
who were leaving CIMMYT may not have brought the same degree of energy or rigor to this
exercise as the new team of Program Directors. During its second visit to the Center, the
Panel found evidence that new Directors had begun to revisit the earlier exercise and re-
shape the implementation plan for the new strategy. Clearly, it was not possible to see this in
the MTP but it was more evident on a program-by-program basis from documents produced
since the end of 2004.
The Panel recommends that senior Management and Program Directors undertake a much
more rigorous process to define goals for the new strategy that provide a framework within
which to organize projects and activities and against which progress in meeting the goals
can be measured. In addition to strengthening the implementation of the new strategy, the
process will enable the Program Directors as a team to identify a set of goals that are
congruent across the Center.
In general, the Panel faced a difficult time learning from management the degree to which
CIMMYT was about to engage in new initiatives as a result of the new strategy, what they
were, and how their goals and outputs would be accomplished. CIMMYT's current resource
portfolio results in a set of restricted projects that have outputs and timeframes created to
work within the old structure. These cannot be abandoned and may not be subject to much
adjustment with the result that it appeared to the Panel that for the foreseeable future the
new CIMMYT strategy looks like the old strategy with nominally different programmatic
Chapter 4 explores this issue of what changes and what remains the same more specifically,
and includes the Panel's detailed assessments and recommendations for the Programs.
2.6 A Need for a Business Strategic Plan
The adoption of a strategic plan is usually accompanied by both a business strategic plan and
an operational plan, which together address the issues of resource allocation and
mobilization as well as implementation. A business strategic plan is not just a projection of
the budget from year to year, but an exercise in which the effect of maintaining resources,
increasing resources or losing resources is applied to the underlying goals of the plan to help
refine priority setting and sharpen impact.
To solve the problem of recent budget shortfalls, the tactic has been to assess a combination
of across the board cuts and strategic staff reductions. The new strategy implies an initial
resetting of priorities and programmatic investments, but does not take that process forward
to project potential financial results and define how each scenario-the same, more or fewer
resources-would impact priority setting and implementation of the plan.
A business plan helps address the important issue of critical mass: what does it take for a
particular goal to be achieved? Some activities must achieve a certain size or level of capacity
to be able to approach a result worth the investment of limited resources. Other activities can
be reduced and still be effective.
While the Panel could see that this set of assessments had been made as the new strategy
was developed (the external scan and the study of global trends, in particular, provided
important insights for mission and priorities), it could not find that the assessment process
was reproduced as a forecasting and decision-making tool that would support the plan as it
was implemented over time.
The Panel recommends that CIMMYT develop a business strategic plan that will support the
successful implementation of the new strategy in the face of a dynamic financial
2.7 Implementation and Priority Setting
Chapter 4 addresses the issue of implementation and priority setting more specifically for
each Program and disciplinary group.
2.7.1 New Research Matrix
CIMMYT has organized its research into a matrix management structure intending to have
thematic Programs (global and eco-regional) on the horizontal axis, which interact with five
disciplinary groups on the vertical axis. The thematic Programs are charged with catalyzing
interdisciplinary research done in collaboration with a wide range of partners by
maintaining a focus on livelihoods and production systems rather than on commodities and
disciplines. The disciplinary groups have the task of ensuring continuing scientific and
The Panel perceives two potential problems in making the research matrix work. The first is
the thin distribution of certain disciplinary expertise across the eco-regional Programs. The
second is the difficulty of clarifying lines of authority with a structure that includes Program
directorship, project management and disciplinary leadership. In addition, the long
recommended introduction of a project management system needs to be accelerated to have
the new structure function effectively.
The management team, including Program Directors, has developed new terms of reference
for each Program and disciplinary group within the matrix. These need to be adopted and
then evaluated to be sure that those responsible for achieving results have the authority to do
so. Training should be provided to key Program staff to enable them to participate
appropriately in the new strategy and to operate within the new system for project and
2.7.2 Priority Setting
To achieve a similarly formatted set of results using comparable criteria, CIMMYT adopted a
simple set of processes for identifying priorities and estimating resources. These enabled
Program Directors to produce plans that could be compared across Programs. The objective
* Prioritize objectives, outputs and activities
* Assign resources to objectives, outputs and activities
* Make explicit the trade-offs that limited resources entailed
In the absence of clearly delineated goals and without the additional dimension of planning
with different resource scenarios (flat resources, increased resources, decreased resources),
the format and formulas that were developed, while worthwhile, yielded results of limited
strategic value for implementation within and across Programs. Given the current level of
restricted project support, it is not clear that even with a more robust process, this exercise
highlights more than capacity needs going forward.
2.7.3 Program Directorship and Management Team
The Panel noted earlier in Chapter 2 that a new team of Program Directors is in place and the
DG's office now includes a Deputy Director General for Research (DDG-R) and a Director of
Corporate Services. This is an exceptionally strong team, recruited with the new strategy in
mind. It appears to the Panel that the Directors are a critical part of re-stabilizing CIMMYT
and rebuilding a collective sense of purpose. If CIMMYT wishes to capture fully the new
vision, talent and energy that the new project directors, in particular, bring to their
assignments, it must provide them with the flexibility to fine tune implementation, shape
their staffs, and adjust the pace of change to build good will and the personal sense of value
that success will ultimately depend on.
2.8 Medium-Term Plan 2005-2007
As an expression of the strategy's implementation, the MTP for 2005-2007 is an
unsatisfactory document. It is both unclear and incomplete. Its shortcomings are only
partially offset by the Program logframes that have been developed as part of the fiscal '06
budget and the development of the new MTP.
The MTP should reflect the implementation of the new strategy and build on the experience
of the previous MTP. At a minimum, it should fully elaborate each Program's work plan for
2005, and outline the research agenda for the next two years. At the project level, it should
detail the research outputs that change the probability of success of a project in the portfolio,
as well as changes, if any, in the resource requirements since the last submission.
CIMMYT's MTP was not prepared in accordance with the guidelines issued by the
Secretariats of the CGIAR and Science Council. The MTP lacks major financial tables to
provide information about the financial viability of the plan as well as the comprehensive
project portfolio that provides comprehensive information on each project including
milestones, collaborators and resource requirements needed for evaluation and monitoring.
It is the Panel's view that the MTP 2005-2007 does not function as an operational plan for
implementation of the strategy or for evaluating and monitoring progress of the research
agenda. In addition to the missing financial tables, the following were also missing or
* Project structure and outputs under the Programs: From the MTP it is not clear what
projects and outputs the Center will undertake to implement the research Programs, and
their expected impact.
* Project Portfolio: The MTP 2005-2007 lacks the entire project portfolio with provides
specific information on each project that is needed for evaluation and monitoring
progress. Each project descriptor should include objectives, expected gains/impact,
outputs, and milestones for each output, cost for three years, users of research,
collaborators, CGIAR linkage and funding sources.
The MTP did not make clear to the Panel how Program priorities were set and resources
allocated. To the extent the Panel had access to this information it was through one-on-one
interaction with Program staff and senior management. While the Panel recognizes that the
implementation process linked to the new strategy could not be fully accomplished by the
deadlines established for the production of the MTP, the completion of the strategy
document and the development of the MTP for 2005-2007 provided a large enough window
to enable more of the implications of the plan to be evident in the MTP. The MTP is an
increasingly important document for management, board and other stakeholders to gain
insight into CIMMYT's Programs, priority setting, resource allocation and results; it needs to
be more informative about these matters as possible in the coming editions.
2.9 Resource Allocation and Mobilization
The MTP for 2005-2007 suggests that the new strategy will be implemented by only
incremental growth in budgetary resources. The growth in resources for non-salary uses is
narrowed even further after the cost of new staff hires is included.
Even if the new strategy envisions substantial operational efficiencies with associated
savings on the expense side, the new strategy and the impact it envisions would seem to
mandate projecting and seeking new and renewed resources. Even in 2007, four years after
the strategy is adopted and two years after implementation is complete, there is little
evidence based on the budget projections that CIMMYT plans to use the new strategy to
mobilize new resources.
It is understandable that implementation, including resource allocation during the first two
years of the plan, will be driven in part by the overarching financial constraints that
CIMMYT faces. Nevertheless, there are clear areas within CIMMYT's Programs where failing
to make additional investments quickly will result in the loss of any future strategic value for
a Program or activity. The Panel's concerns extend to a number of new programmatic
emphases and goals and the difficulty of making a measurable impact with the current levels
of capacity. There are questions here of both investment and choice. The Panel perceives a
continuing need to refine CIMMYT's strategy to invest where it can make a measurable
difference rather than adopting a range of initiatives which may be important and within
CIMMYT's new mission, but which CIMMYT cannot hope to impact with any degree of
measurable success even within an extended timeframe.
In particular, the Panel had a persistent concern that the multidisciplinary organization of
regional work, requiring both new staff capacity and also new levels of collaboration and
partnership to be effective, may tax CIMMYT's current resource base and weaken its
investments in crop breeding. The Panel suggests that this strategy be tested in a setting,
such as southern Asia, where the chance of success is likely to be high to see if the new
direction actually works. In an organization that appears to have built its strategy on level
and mostly restricted funds, it seems prudent to the Panel to invest resources in the new
model in a way that minimizes risk and increases the value of learning from results.
The MTP subsumes within the Program and disciplinary matrix the plan for rebuilding
CIMMYT's management and physical infrastructure. Given the degree to which both aspects
of CIMMYT's operations are in need of improvement and the extent to which CIMMYT's
overall organizational stability is dependent on them, the Panel suggests that the resource
requirements for this component of the strategy's implementation be identified along with
the underlying goals and outputs.
For the Panel's purposes, it considers the ability of CIMMYT to attract and retain a talented
staff a critical part of the resource component of a successful plan. As noted in the Chapter 9
of the report, the level of turnover and the morale of staff have reached a critical low.
CIMMYT cannot undertake its new strategy or maintain its organizational integrity if it
continues to lose its staff, particularly its scientific staff. The Panel urges CIMMYT
management to consider carefully how morale can be improved, how to reassure the staff
that their patience and goodwill will be rewarded, and how to provide Program Directors
and other staff with the resources to work effectively within the framework of the new
strategy. CIMMYT has committed itself to becoming a learning organization but it needs to
retain the commitment and faith of the staff for that organizational culture to thrive.
Chapter 9 discusses in detail the need for CIMMYT to build a much stronger and
professional resource mobilization strategy. It cannot hope to be competitive and to build the
resources it needs on a sustained basis without a more aggressive, well planned approach to
fund raising and donor relations. The new strategy offers a significant opportunity to build
greater support for CIMMYT's mission and Programs, but that opportunity has a limited life
The Panel valued the scale and openness of the planning process. It was particularly
impressive to see stakeholders' assessments of CIMMYT, most of which were highly positive
but many of which were startlingly candid, taken seriously and reflected in many areas of
CIMMYT's new strategy. It was also a process that enabled board and staff to work together
in a thoughtful and reflective manner about CIMMYT's mission and the strengths the
organization brings to fulfilling it.
Seeds of Change captures CIMMYT's bold new vision and mission, and documents the
extensive research and discussions that led to the strategy's formulation. While the Panel
understood the publication's importance as a record, it considered the document deficient in
expressing clearly the goals, and linked to them the priorities, resource requirements and
results, that CIMMYT would pursue in order to achieve the new strategy. The work
CIMMYT has undertaken since adoption of the strategy to clarify its goals and build an
implementation plan continues.
The scope of the new mission and the breadth of the new strategy in combination with
CIMMYT's challenging financial circumstances created a high degree of uncertainty within
the Panel about the extent to which the strategy and the attendant reorganization will be
The Panel recommends that CIMMYT Management and Board undertake a mid-term review
in 2007 focused on the implementation of the new strategy, the efficacy of CIMMYT's
reorganization and the impact of financial capacity on CIMMYT's Programs and
3 RESEARCH ACCOMPLISHMENTS
In this Chapter we assess the outputs and impacts of CIMMYT's research since the last
EPMR. Since the new CIMMYT Programs have not been in place long enough to generate
significant independent impacts in their own right, the Panel chose to do this assessment on
the basis of the old program structure.
3.1 Wheat Program
The Wheat Program was a core program at CIMMYT from its establishment in 1966 until the
implementation of the new program structure in 2004. Approximately 66-75% of the total
budget devoted to wheat research has been spent on breeding and related activities (cereal
chemistry, plant pathology, biometry and genetic resources) over the years, and this trend
continued until the program ceased in 2004. In 2002 CIMMYT's expenditure on the
improvement of bread wheat, durum wheat and triticale was estimated to be at US$ 9.11
million'. The bulk of this expenditure was on bread wheat with limited resources going to
durum wheat, barley and triticale.
Initially the emphasis was given to breeding wheats for irrigated or well watered subtropical
environments which were the initial sites for the green revolution. However, the focus
gradually expanded over the years to include the full complement of maturity types (spring,
facultative, and winter) for all the major wheat growing regions of the developing world. In
recent years, particular emphasis has been given to breeding wheats with greater biotic and
abiotic stress tolerances for marginal rainfed environments.
In 1990 CIMMYT initiated a global study designed to document the adoption and diffusion
of CIMMYT germplasm in the developing world and to assess the benefits generated by its
wheat improvement program in concert with its NARS partners. This early study underlined
the outstanding success of the CIMMYT wheat improvement program and quantified the
huge impact that CIMMYT had on the global wheat industry. It concluded that: (i) the
adoption and diffusion of improved wheat varieties has continued in the post-Green
Revolution era. By the 1990s improved high yielding cultivars covered over 80% of all the
wheat area with adoption rates of 90% or greater in Latin America and Asia outside of
China; (ii) improved germplasm developed by CIMMYT's wheat improvement program
continues to be used extensively by breeding programs in developing countries; (iii) public
investment in international wheat breeding generates high rates of return. Byerlee and
Traxler2 estimated that the total economic surplus in developing countries from genetic
improvement in wheat was about US$ 2.5 billion annually for a total research cost that never
exceeded US$ 70 million.
1 Lantican, M.A., H.J. Dubin, and M.L. Morris (2004), Impacts of International Wheat Breeding
Research in the Developing World, 1988-2002. CIMMYT (in press)
2 Byerlee and G. Traxler (1995), National and International Wheat Research in the post-Green
Revolution Period: Evolution and Impacts, American Journal of Agricultural Economics 77(2): 268-
The outputs of the CIMMYT Wheat Program since the last EPMR in 1997 are discussed
* Continuing output of high yielding bread wheat lines in a range of maturity classes with
broad-based resistance to leaf, stem and stripe rusts that can be used by cooperating
NARS breeding and evaluation programs directly as cultivars, or more commonly, as
* New combinations of non-specific genes for leaf and stripe rust resistance in advanced
breeding lines with competitive yields and acceptable quality. It is anticipated that this
form of multigenic and non-specific resistance will not directly challenge the pathogens
to mutate to more virulent forms and hence prove more durable in the field. In addition
CIMMYT has been working with its Advanced Research Institutes (ARI) to develop
molecular markers for each of these genes so that effective combinations can be
maintained in future breeding cycles both at CIMMYT and in the NARS partner
* Establishment of the Global Rust Monitoring Nursery as an early warning system for the
detection and monitoring of new damaging races of rusts on advanced wheat lines. The
nursery was established in response to a virulent race of yellow rust that could attach to
previously universally resistant varieties and spread from East Africa where it arose in
1986 to North Africa crossing West Asia and South Asia to reach Nepal in 1997. On the
way it caused multi-million dollar production losses in several countries, which could
have been avoided through coordinated global monitoring coupled with local variety
replacement. This nursery coordinated by CIMMYT involves the cooperative efforts of
more than 30 NARS in the developing world and aims to avoid a repeat of these past
* Production of over 1,000 synthetic wheats using wide crossing between tetraploid wheats
and goat grass which have provided exciting new sources of resistance or tolerance to a
range of biotic and abiotic stresses of wheat.
* Use of synthetic wheats to develop bread wheat germplasm better adapted to marginal
environments with better seedling vigour, improved drought tolerance and greater yield
* Identification of a range of wheat germplasm including landraces from Turkey and a
number of wild relatives that are tolerant of zinc deficiency and others that produce zinc
rich grain. These materials are now being incorporated into advanced breeding lines that
can be transferred to NARS partners.
* Higher yielding durum germplasm with better industrial quality (yellow pigment and
* Improved Triticale germplasm of both grain and dual purpose types and development of
an effective system for the commercial production of F1 hybrid Triticale.
* CIMMYT germplasm incorporated in more than 800 released cultivars of bread wheat,
durum wheat, barley and triticale globally over the period 1999-2004 inclusive.
The Wheat Program produced some 190 peer reviewed publications during 1999-2004 (Table
3.1), on average 0.8 per researcher annually (1999-2003). This is a good record within the
Institute. Eighty five percent of these publications were done jointly with partners including
nearly equal participation with institutions in the South and the North. The Program also
produced 15 other publications, including research reports and tools, manuals, proceedings
and bulletins. Through these publications the Wheat Program has made a significant
contribution to the scientific literature in the areas of breeding for disease resistance, drought
and industrial quality and the exploitation of wide crosses in wheat germplasm
Table 3.1 Wheat Program Publications and Staff 1999-2004
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
All peer reviewed publications 20 25 33 28 46 40
Jointly with partners 16 21 28 24 38 36
In regional journals 5 3 7 11 12 10
Staff 32 37 40 39 39 na
member 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.7 1.2
The second global wheat impact study undertaken by CIMMYT from 1997 to 2002 (see p. 21)
confirmed the results of the earlier extensive study and showed that improved germplasm
from CIMMYT's bread and durum wheat improvement programs continued to be
extensively used by developing countries. CIMMYT germplasm had its biggest impact in
spring types with over 90% of the approximately 80 new cultivars of both bread and durum
wheat released on average each year having at least one CIMMYT ancestor world wide.
It is also clear from the most recent studies that the International Winter Wheat
Improvement Program (IWWIP), a joint venture between Turkey's Ministry of Agriculture,
CIMMYT and ICARDA, is having a significant impact in CWANA where winter and
facultative wheats predominate. The IWWIP distributes improved winter wheat germplasm
to 120 breeding programs in 50 countries. To date, 30 varieties developed by IWWIP have
been released and a further 34 are scheduled for release. It is anticipated that the improved
winter wheats developed by IWWIP will significantly lift the low average yield of 1.3 tons
per ha on the 16 million ha of wheat grown in the CWANA region.
The extensive use of CIMMYT germplasm by developing country breeding programs
combined with the widespread adoption of CIMMYT derived varieties generates enormous
economic benefits for those countries. Using 2002 adoption data, the annual benefits
associated with the use of CIMMYT derived germplasm were estimated to range from US$
0.5-1.6 billion (2002 dollars) under the most conservative assumptions and US$ 1.3 to 3.9
billion dollars under more liberal assumptions. These figures confirm that the investment in
CIMMYT's wheat improvement program given its modest cost and huge returns remains
However, yield increases per se while obviously extremely important are only part of the
story. CIMMYT has also invested heavily in maintenance breeding, not only in durable
resistance to leaf, stem and stripe rust in bread and durum wheat, but also for a number of
other pests and diseases such as Russian wheat aphid, nematodes, head scab and fungal root
diseases. This maintenance breeding is important for two reasons. First it helps underpin
stability of production for small scale farmers, which reduces their vulnerability to the loss of
food or income. Second, it reduces the need to use chemicals to control disease reducing
input costs and improving environmental sustainability. Despite the size and importance of
the maintenance breeding effort there have been few attempts to quantify the benefits of
maintenance breeding even though agronomic studies suggest that progress in protecting
yields through disease resistance may be greater than advances in yield potential (Sayre et al.
1998). A recent case study of the economic impact of productivity maintenance research
using the yield losses avoided by breeding for durable resistance to leaf rust as the example
has demonstrated very significant benefits. The internal rate of return on CIMMYT's research
investment in leaf rust resistance research and breeding since 1973 was estimated to be 41%.
When discounted by 5%, the net present value was US$ 5.36 billion in 1990 dollars and the
benefit:cost ratio was 27:1. This study clearly illustrates the economic importance of
maintenance breeding and research in international crop improvement programs.
The international wheat breeding system is still largely dominated by public breeding
programs but the number of private companies that also engage in wheat breeding is
expanding relatively rapidly mainly in developed countries but also in a number of
developing countries. These private wheat breeding companies are usually interested in
exerting IPR in the form of Plant Breeders Rights or patents over their released cultivars to
generate income from seed sales and/or end point royalties. One of the issues for CIMMYT
was whether the growing number of private wheat breeding companies would be reluctant
to use its germplasm because of concerns that ownership rights might be difficult to assert
because CIMMYT cannot offer exclusive rights to individual companies. However, a recent
analysis3 using a sample of five countries indicated that more than 75% of the protected
wheat varieties in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay have some CIMMYT ancestry close
to the figure for the public sector programs in the region. In South Africa the proportion of
protected wheat lines with CIMMYT ancestry was less (45%). The figures do not reflect the
reluctance of private companies to use CIMMYT germplasm but rather its lack of adaptation
to some production environments of importance in South Africa.
3.1.3 CCERs and Other External Reviews
The Panel had for its consideration the reports of two external reviews. The first was the
CIMMYT Sub-Panel Report of the Systemwide Review of Plant Breeding Methodologies in
the CGIAR carried out in February 2000 by a distinguished Panel of experts. This review was
commissioned by the TAC on behalf of the CGIAR to assess the extent to which appropriate
biotechnology and bioengineering techniques are being practiced to provide support to more
conventional breeding practices.
This review made a total of 18 recommendations arising from its review of CIMMYT's plant
breeding methodologies. Three were specific to CIMMYT's wheat improvement program
* Recommendation 6: There is a need for a stronger commitment and closer collaboration
with the ABC for a steady progress in moving biotechnology into wheat breeding
3 Lantican et al (2004). Loc.cit.
* Recommendation 7: The Wheat Program together with the ABC should make an internal
assessment of costs and opportunities of biotechnology for its breeding endeavours,
identifying priorities and specifying commitments and timing.
* Recommendation 8: More attention has to be devoted to more traditional techniques as
production of double haploids in wheat. Bread wheat haploids should be produced not
just for research projects, but at a larger scale for the breeding programs. Research for
production of double haploids in durum wheat is also needed.
In addition to the above three recommendations this review also raised the issue of data
acquisition, data management and data sharing capabilities and recommended these be
upgraded through the co-operative development of ICIS (International Crop Information
System) with other CGIAR Centers. These recommendations, especially 8 above, are still
valid today. However, it is unclear what the Centers response, if any, was to these
The second was the Center Commissioned External Review (CCER) of CIMMYT's Wheat
Breeding Activities conducted in March 2004. This review was also conducted by a
distinguished panel of international experts and was assigned the task, by the CIMMYT
Board of Trustees, of assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of CIMMYT's wheat breeding
approaches, with specific emphasis on the following issues: a) the quality and relevance of
CIMMYT's wheat breeding programs; b) the effectiveness and efficiency of the current
wheat improvement system with emphasis on the use of modern technologies, especially
biotechnology; c) opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the current
wheat improvement programs, including the role of CIMMYT in the wheat breeding system,
and the role of regional testing and feedback mechanisms; d) the effectiveness of
partnerships that CIMMYT's Wheat Program has with NARS, ARIs, NGOs and the private
seed sector for wheat breeding and seed dissemination; and e) the scope and relevance of the
wheat improvement programs, particularly their impact on poverty reduction and food
security in developing countries.
Overall the CCER team endorsed the general thrust of CIMMYT's wheat breeding activities.
However, the CCER team made 18 recommendations covering many aspects of the operation
of CIMMYT's wheat improvement activities in areas as diverse as staff succession,
postdoctoral training, impact assessment, communication with CIMMYT partners,
mechanization of the breeding program, MAS, breeding strategies, data acquisition and
management and the CIMMYT-ICARDA relationship. Generally, management responded
positively to the recommendations of the CCER and has identified steps they are taking to
resolve most of the issues identified by the CCER panel. The EPMR Panel fully supports the
findings and recommendations of this recent CCER.
CIMMYT's wheat improvement program has continued to be highly productive since the
last EPMR in 1997. It has produced a constant stream of exciting new advanced lines with
improved yield, disease resistance, seedling vigour, alternate dwarfing genes, drought and
heat resistance and tolerance to zinc deficiency. The research output of the program
especially in the areas of durable resistance for leaf and stripe rust resistance and the use of
synthetics to broaden the genetic base of bread wheat breeding has also been exceptional.
This performance has been more remarkable given the significant changes to the program
over the last three years. These have included the loss of several long term senior staff from
the breeding and wide crossing programs and the gene bank; a reduction of 35% in total staff
in the program since 2001; and a radical reorganization of the program and line
responsibilities. The EPMR team congratulates the remaining staff on their dedication and
capacity to remain focused on their important work during this extended period of
3.2 Maize Program
CIMMYT's maize improvement program began in 1966 with the founding of the Center. It
has targeted all the lowland tropical, subtropical, mid-altitude, and tropical highland
environments throughout the world. IITA, located in Nigeria, conducts a complementary
program on maize improvement for the humid tropical and moist savannah zones of west
and central Africa. This chapter assesses the outputs and impact of CIMMYT's maize
program since the 4th EPMR until the program's discontinuation in 2004. This assessment is
based on the regional impact studies conducted by CIMMYT, External Review reports (see
Section 3.2.4), and other documentation and information collected at CIMMYT headquarters
during the course of the review.
Faced with the funding constraints, work in Asia was reduced. The Bangkok office and the
field research program in Thailand were closed in 2002. Benefiting from increased donor
interest in SSA, activities increased substantially during the mid to late 1990s.
Until the restructuring of CIMMYT programs, maize research was carried out by six major
units in the CIMMYT Maize Program:
* Eastern Africa (headed by Alpha Diallo), Southern Africa (headed by Kevin Pixley; 12
staff in total on average)
* Genetic Resources, headed by S. Taba (1.5)
* Tropical Highland, headed by D. Beck (2)
* Subtropical mid-altitude, headed by G. Srinivasan (2)
* Tropical Lowland, headed by H. Cordoba (6)
184.108.40.206 Germplasm with Specific Traits
The major output from the past six years of CIMMYT's maize research is the production of
Modern Varieties (MVs), including numerous Open Pollinated Varieties (OPVs), improved
germplasm, CIMMYT maize lines and commercial hybrids that have been released or used
in breeding. The materials distributed by the 5 maize units with important new traits
* Drought tolerant hybrids and OPVs
* Quality Protein Maize (QPM) hybrids and OPVs
* Herbicide resistant hybrids and OPVs for Striga control
* Germplasm adapted to African highlands
* Germplasm with conventional stem borer resistance
* Several top lines used by the public and private breeding sector
A recent study4 forecasts further contribution in 2005 by CIMMYT's newly released drought-
tolerant MVs to maize productivity in SSA. In 2004, ten OPVs were under large scale seed
increase in eight countries in southern and eastern Africa and planting of this drought
tolerant material is expected on about 1 million ha. Yield increases are estimated to be about
15-20% compared to formerly used OPVs. Potentially about 10% of the total of 10.6 million
ha of maize grown in these countries will switch to improved MVs in one year. Whether any
of this 1 million ha will be planted on smallholder farms and whether the uptake of the new
MVs will result in sustainable changes in livelihoods is not known.
Considering the challenge of serving all diverse areas well, CIMMYT's maize research
priorities have been balanced, and positive results are documented from many parts of the
world. In Africa, the improved MVs show excellent results under lower-yielding conditions,
but they have not yet been widely distributed and have not been adopted by the resource-
poor smallholder farm families.
The achievements around the world are the results of the strong core maize breeding
program in Mexico where diverse conditions can be fully exploited to test for different
globally important traits. This is discussed later.
Through pre-breeding CIMMYT's gene pools and populations have been re-structured into
clearly separated heterotic groups, while at the same time broadening the gene pools that are
adapted to tropical, subtropical and highland climatic conditions. This is done by
introgression of germplasm accessions as well as elite cultivars. Such improved gene pools
and breeding crosses are enhanced within the respective heterotic pattern.
Investment in pre-breeding has increased since 1999 in two areas:
* ex situ: crosses of core landraces with elite inbreds incorporated into heterotic genepools;
* in situ: targeted incorporation of desirable traits into local varieties; and comparison of
selectable characteristics at the molecular level.
In Africa CIMMYT materials provide a major source of disease resistance to a range of pests
and diseases, and characterization of new maize germplasm products, based on regional
trials at up to 100 locations, is published annually.
220.127.116.11 Quality Protein Maize
A major achievement of recent years has been the development of QPM, for which CIMMYT
scientists received the World Food Prize in 2000. Stabilizing a recessive trait in high quality
background took several decades of painstaking research efforts.
Since the initial success, the various QPM projects have been successful in incorporating the
trait into a broad range of materials. This success derives from CIMMYT's long-term
commitment to improving aspects of maize critical to the end users. However, as the quality
4 Maize Improvement 1999-2004 and future challenges, CIMMYT 2004
protein trait is recessively controlled, seed multiplication and dissemination need to be
closely monitored to assure that the consumers in urgent need of the nutritional benefits get
them. Monitoring the effects of this trait throughout all steps of seed multiplication should
be a major task for CIMMYT and its partners in the future. More scientific studies are needed
on the positive nutritive value and impact of farmer produced QPM grains in human diet.
The total area on QPM maize grown in CIMMYT's target area is estimated to be in 2005 0.8
million ha5. There is now a wide QPM base with adaptation to Africa.
18.104.22.168 Publications from Maize Program
One of the outputs from CIMMYT's maize research is new knowledge and publications.
CIMMYT has accumulated knowledge on the genetics base of important traits; new breeding
approaches, including participatory evaluation methods, like the Mother-Baby methodology;
new knowledge about host plant resistance to important pests, stem borers, maize weevils
and LGB; and a better understanding of gene flow.
In the period 1999-2004, the maize researchers published a total of 69 peer-reviewed
publications (Table 3.2), on average 0.7 publications per staff member annually (1999-2003).
Other publications, 38 in total, included research reports, technical bulletins, manuals,
proceedings and research tools. Increasingly the maize researchers published with partners
from North and South and 60% of the publications were done jointly with partners with
equal number of partners from North and South.
Table 3.2 Maize ProgramPublications and Staff for 1999-2004
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
All peer reviewed 9 10 11 15 17 7
Jointly with partners 4 6 10 9 7 5
In regional journals 2 2 4 3 3 1
International staff 28 29 25 30 33 na
Peer-reviewed 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.5
publications per staff
CIMMYT has also produced software for management of maize breeding programs, spatial
analysis and GIS applications, such as the Maize Atlas and Country Almanacs. A large part
of CIMMYT's training has focused on maize breeding, pests and pathogens, management
and quality (see section 7.4).
3.2.3 Impacts and Assessment
Maize research at CIMMYT has made a continuous and substantial contribution to the
increase in maize production in developing countries. CIMMYT's inbreds, hybrids,
improved breeding pools, populations, synthetics and OPVs have been used by public and
private sectors worldwide for breeding, MV release, seed production and distribution. The
5 Progress Report 2003 by CIMMYT and the Nippon Foundation
quality and quantity of CIMMYT maize breeding has been documented in a recent book by
Evenson and Golan (Impact of CIMMYT Maize Breeding Research, Chapter 7. An earlier
impact study by Morris and Pereira (1999) indicated that nearly 300,000 metric tons of maize
seed were sold in Latin America in 1996, and that of 15 million ha were planted with F1 seed
(hybrids and OPV's), and 17 million ha planted with recycled seed, 75 % (12.75 million ha)
contain CIMMYT's germplasm.
Considering that information is not readily available, particularly from the private sector, it
is likely that CIMMYT's entire contribution to maize improvement is much larger than
documented in regional studies.
Production figures from 1993 to 2003 shared with the Panel show substantial percentage
increases in productivity per ha in countries like: Cameroon (123%), Senegal (79%), Burkina
Faso (21%), India (31%), Indonesia (48%), Thailand (32%), Vietnam (81%), Philippines (19%),
Salvador (23%), Nicaragua (27%), Bolivia (25%), Colombia (37%), Peru (28%), Venezuela
(16%) and Brazil (46%).
Such figures clearly indicate the contribution of CIMMYT's germplasm via inbreds, breeding
material and MV's. Most of the countries listed above do have a well functioning seed
system in place which is capable of incorporating CIMMYT's maize research results into
improving MVs that are released for farmers through marketing of high quality seed. The
FAO statistics on maize production and productivity verify these findings. However, there is
no evidence to show whether productivity in the resource poor farming areas of the world
has been improved and whether the improvements, if any, could be attributed to the
CIMMYT germplasm. This summary the use of CIMMYT's germplasm worldwide reflects 40
years of applied conventional breeding that has benefited maize growing farmers around the
CIMMYT breeders have been able to introduce genetic differentiation in every breeding
generation, fully utilizing the different conditions in the maize breeding stations in Mexico.
The combination of natural and artificial inoculations and infestations of diseases and pests,
and exposure of germplasm to different stress factors in very different climatic conditions
both during the main and off seasons have allowed the development of resistance and
tolerance for many biotic and abiotic stresses common around the world where CIMMYT
germplasm is used. This explains the very high proportion of CIMMYT maize germplasm
grown worldwide that has been developed at the breeding stations in Mexico. CIMMYT
needs to maintain this strategy of breeding at the Mexican breeding stations to secure the
continuous success of CIMMYT's germplasm. CIMMYT's comprehensive maize research
structure, which combines breeding in Mexico with activities in SSA must not be reduced.
This structure guarantees genetic gains that are urgently needed for the more then 40 million
ha of marginal, low yielding maize growing areas in the world. These areas are unlikely to
have a viable profitable seed delivery system in the foreseeable future unless yields go up
and proprietary breeding takes place.
The recent successes in SSA demonstrate what a continuous multidisciplinary breeding
effort on drought tolerance can achieve. It is important to note that 30 years of research is
underpinning the significant progress seen in 2004 and 2005. It demonstrates the long-term
nature of germplasm enhancement which needs to be accommodated also in the new
strategy and program structure. In order to fulfil its mission, CIMMYT needs to maintain
such an operational platform.
3.2.4 CCERs and Other External Reviews
In its assessment of CIMMYT's maize breeding activities, the Panel was able to draw on two
external reviews, both conducted by distinguished international panels of experts: (i) Report
of CIMMYT Maize Program External Review conducted in 2002 and (ii) CCER on CIMMYT's
Maize Improvement Programs in Sub-Sahara Africa conducted in 2004.
The CIMMYT Maize Program External review (2002) was commissioned to examine the
effectiveness and efficiency of CIMMYT's maize improvement efforts. The panel made
several recommendation for enhancing the planning and execution of the future strategies of
the Maize Program. The report concluded that CIMMYT maize breeding was highly
professional, the breeding methodology was sound and results fulfilled the needs of their
regional clients. The Panel concurs with the general findings of the report. Most critical is the
need for a full-time data manager dedicated to the maize research even under the new
program structure. CIMMYT has recognized this need.
The 2004 CCER reviewed CIMMYT's activities in SSA with a particular focus on the impact
of stress tolerant maize germplasm and related crop and natural resource management
(NRM) systems on smallholder, subsistence farmers' livelihoods. It concluded that important
contributions had been made to the livelihoods of the resource poor maize producers and to
Africa's maize industry since CIMMYT staff was based in the region in the mid 1970s. The
report confirms that CIMMYT has provided essential support in program design, breeding
methodology, trait characterisation, trial evaluation, staff training and capacity
strengthening. The report raises concerns, however, about the formidable challenges that
CIMMYT is facing to fulfil its comprehensive and ambitious targets ranging from developing
biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in maize to strengthening collaboration, contributing to
policy development, and documenting impacts. The Panel agrees that such targets require
substantial human and financial resources, careful budgeting, excellent leadership, and
strategic partnerships. The EPMR Panel endorses particularly the CCERs recommendations
calling for (i) a framework for identifying feasible and realistic intervention options with
clear impact pathways for improving the livelihoods of poor maize producers; and (ii) a
pragmatic business plan. The EPMR Panel emphasises the importance that CIMMYT
dedicating its own efforts as well as catalyzing partners to target the resource poor farming
areas where yields are very low and farmers so far have not had access to improved seed. It
also encourages CIMMYT to engage more in collaboration with the other Centers and
advanced institutions to advance its goals in this area.
On the basis of maize production and yield statistics shared with the Panel in CIMMYT's
target countries, four different kinds of countries can be identified in terms of yield increases:
(i) 2 to 3 fold; (ii) 1.5 to 2 fold; (iii) only slight increases; and (iv) no yield increase or even
decrease of yield/ha.
It is obvious that germplasm improvement and better agronomic practices have not yet
reached the resource-poor smallholders for whom maize is a staple food and feed.
CIMMYT's germplasm improvement over the last 3 decades has had uneven success in the
maize farming community of the mega-environments targeted by CIMMYT. In designing its
future maize strategies, CIMMYT needs to distinguish between areas with different
The high- and medium-yielding regions need much less attention than the low- and very low
yielding regions in order to contribute to reducing poverty and hunger.
In order to serve the low and very low yielding regions best, the causes of low yields and
low technology adoption in comparison with the productive areas need to be well
understood. This was emphasized by the CCER. Most countries that CIMMYT has targeted,
include all four different types of areas, but there is limited detailed information on the low-
and very low yielding areas in these countries. Such regions with low production and
productivity may be described as 'Marginal Maize Production Areas (MMPA)', and they
require targeted approaches. It is important to identify MMPA with certain features in
common that allow:
* Adaptability of common germplasm CIMMYT and its partners need to identify the
most suitable common germplasm to be used;
* Suitability of similar seed systems for release, production and sales of improved seed -
CIMMYT needs to support its partners in developing such systems; and
* Common political and market structures beyond the influence of CIMMYT and its
If CIMMYT identifies such MMPAs, it can focus on finding the right solutions for making an
impact on highly indigent areas. CIMMYT's strength is the immense value of its improved
germplasm and genetic resources, and the availability of the best classical and modem tools
to deliver results to areas where urgent help is most needed. The following analysis and
recommendations are based on the assumption in CIMMYT's new strategy that CIMMYT's
clients are living in marginal maize production areas.
In conclusion, the Panel found ample evidence from documentation and from its interaction
with CIMMYT's partners that CIMMYT's maize breeding is widely recognized as having
been generally of good quality and relevant for the recipient countries.
3.3 Natural Resources Group
The Natural Resources Group (NRG) was small compared with other programs in CIMMYT,
with the number of IRS varying around five, and not exceeding ten even when associated
scientists were included. While natural resource issues have engaged CIMMYT scientists in
other programs, particularly the Wheat Program, the review focuses on the work of the
NRG. There had been no formal external review of the NRG before the recent restructuring
of CIMMYT, and relatively little systematic information is available on the achievements of
22.214.171.124 Development of Conservation Agriculture
Zero tillage is a common practice in the US and Brazil. The advantages of zero tillage have
been examined in long-term experiments by CIMMYT scientists in Mexico where the
technologies for conservation agriculture have been refined and then implemented in other
countries. Conservation agriculture techniques were well developed in rice-wheat crop
rotation systems in the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP). Zero tillage allowed planting of wheat
directly to rice stubble which resulted in earlier wheat planting and consequently, higher
A number of machines have been developed for conservation agriculture purposes to suit
the needs of different regions. The availability of this machinery had a huge impact on the
development and adoption of conservation agriculture. For example, sowing machinery
helps reduce turnaround time from rice harvesting to wheat planting in the rice-wheat
system. Hand held tractors and their accessories have helped intensification and
diversification of agriculture in Bangladesh and Nepal. No-till animal traction small-grain
drill was designed and produced in Bolivia, and was further developed by CIMMYT
scientists for use in different countries, such as Nepal and Mozambique.
126.96.36.199 Development of Second-generation Technologies
The raised bed system was refined by CIMMYT scientists in Mexico in the early 1990s to
allow establishment of permanent beds. The bed system was then combined with minimum
tillage to take full advantage of the system. Cooperative bed planting projects have been
conducted in several countries including Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. In 2001, the Ludhiana
Research Evaluation Committee approved raised beds with furrow irrigation as a technology
for distribution in the Indian Punjab, thus extending the technology.
With minimum tillage, crop residue can be retained and this improves the soil's fertility and
physical characteristics, and reduces soil erosion. The beds have a number of advantages
over conventional tillage system; some studies indicate a 30 % reduction in production cost
through more timely sowings and savings on seed cost; up to a 40% reduction in the amount
of irrigation water used; fewer tractor passes with a saving in fuel cost and more efficient
fertilizer use, less lodging and higher yields. Mechanical and manual weeding can be done
more readily with raised bed, reducing herbicide use. In high rainfall areas with heavy soils,
the use of beds minimizes water logging. Bed planting also reduces water use and prevents
further reduction in underground water table.
Raised bed planting is also advantageous in terms of introducing rotation crops; for example,
high value crops such as mungbean, potato, pulses and maize in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
In Bangladesh, this crop option includes vegetable crops that may minimize the incidence of
rickets. These crop options are being examined by farmers with CIMMYT and partner
scientists in different countries.
In other examples of second generation technologies, 'permanent bed planting' can be used
in which beds are not destroyed at crop maturity, allowing the crop residue to remain on the
soil surface. Bed planters were developed to facilitate the new cropping systems in the South
Asia region. The introduction of potatoes to South Asia was assisted by the development of
potato planters suitable for the region.
The Rice-Wheat Consortium (RWC) is helping farmers plant different crops to increase
incomes and household nutrition security. NARS researchers together with CIMMYT
scientists are monitoring the effect of other resource conserving technologies (RCTs) on
water saving. The RCTs being assessed are land leveling, zero tillage, bed planting wheat
and other crops, direct seeded rice on raised beds and unpuddled flats with and without
residues, and intercropping systems. Preliminary results show that (i) beds save water, and
(ii) land leveling saves water and also improves water productivity. Adoption of direct
seeded rice without soil puddling for the crop would reduce soil degradation.
188.8.131.52 Value of Long-term Experiments
Effects of zero tillage, residue management, and rotation may not show in the initial years of
experiments, but may appear after several years, requiring a need for long-term experiments.
This was the case in conservation agriculture experiments in Mexico, where CIMMYT has
continued at three locations since 1991. A large number of maize/wheat rotation vs.
continuous cropping tillage systems (conventional vs. zero till), and residue management
systems (straw removed vs. retained) have been examined. Similar experiments are in
progress in other countries. The benefit of zero tillage has been strongly demonstrated when
residue is retained, particularly with maize. Maize appears more sensitive to these
treatments while wheat is more robust with rather small variation in crop yield among
different tillage and residue management treatments. Long-term experiments are excellent
tools to develop and demonstrate new crop management systems, and CIMMYT's work has
demonstrated this clearly.
184.108.40.206 Use of GIS for Natural Resource Management
A geographic information system (GIS) is widely used by CIMMYT scientists for NRM as
well as in other areas. For example, while RCTs may be available that can be used to
overcome crop production constraints and to maximize resource use efficiency; it is another
matter to identify areas where the technologies can be utilized. Recent development of GIS
helps identify areas where the technologies can be utilized successfully. This may be
combined with remote sensing done several times in a year. Such work includes estimation
of underutilized and problematic areas in a case study area in the Eastern Gangetic Plains.
Underutilized and problematic land types identified include current fallows after the wet
season rice, excessive moisture areas, waterlogged areas, salt affected areas and riverside
areas, adding up to about 27 % of the total arable lands in the study area. It was estimated
that early planting of wheat through zero tillage would be applicable in more than half of the
GIS technologies developed by CIMMYT have also been used for providing base line
information, such as the development of country almanacs using an Almanac
Characterization Tool. The almanacs are now available for a number of countries in Africa
and Asia. The achievement here is that GIS has become simple to use and is readily available
to many researchers and extension personnel. For example, in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh
Country Almanac (BCA) was developed which contains information on climate, land, water
and vegetation. This was then used for developing crop suitability maps and food insecurity
maps. Training workshops reaching over 900 people were held on the use of BCA. BCA was
distributed widely throughout the country and used for different purposes such as
identifying suitable soils and areas of drought risks for wheat cultivation.
220.127.116.11 Minimizing the Effect of Soil Fertility Decline in Sub-Saharan Africa
Soil fertility decline has been identified as a significant problem in some arable lands in SSA
which has old depleted topsoils in many areas. While long-term data on soil fertility decline
are difficult to obtain; use of nitrogenous fertilizers has declined for the last 10 years or so
reaching a level of less than 10 kg/ha in SSA, partly as a result of the high cost of fertilizer
relative to crop yield, which is low due to other production constraints. CIMMYT has made
comprehensive assessments of the financial viability of soil fertility options in southern
A number of methods have been found by CIMMYT scientists to prevent decline in soil
fertility or to minimize its effect on crop production. Legumes can contribute to the nitrogen
balance in the field and the fixed nitrogen can be subsequently used by maize and other
crops, which reduces decline in soil N level and crop yield. For example, green manure
mucunaa) was introduced into Malawi, and recommendation domains were defined. While
crop rotation including a legume, such as maize-pigeon pea, may be successful in some
areas, shortage of land, common among smallholders, limits the use of legume crops.
Despite the fact that maize after legume may produce higher yield than continuous maize,
low legume yields (e.g. groundnut in Zimbabwe) make the rotation involving legume
unattractive in terms of financial returns. Similarly, while intercropping of maize-legume is
often successful in southern and East Africa, a high proportion of legume component in the
intercrop often results in reduction in the productivity of maize, resulting in lower
profitability. In some cases relay-intercropping is more suitable than rotation of crops as it
requires less time and land area compared to the rotation of two crops or intercropping, as it
causes less competition between the component crops. For example sunhemp (Crotalaria
juncea L.) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.) can be successfully relay-intercropped with
maize in Zimbabwe without penalty to maize yield under certain crop management
However, these crop management technologies are often site specific and season specific,
particularly under unfavourable environments such as in SSA, and hence technology
development and transfer require much more efforts than when developed for favourable
conditions. There is a need for networking, and CIMMYT is engaged in SoilFertNet in
southern Africa, ECAMAW in eastern and central Africa, and Soil Fertility Consortium
established more recently for southern Africa. The networks have provided materials for
potentially promising technologies that have been tested by farmers. The SoilFertNet
produced a list of 'best bet' technologies for different countries, which it has vigorously
promoted. The list includes technologies to increase soil fertility such as area specific N and
P fertilizer recommendations and legume rotations, and fertility-enhancing cropping
systems, e.g. pigeonpea/cowpea-maize-cassava rotation in coastal and central Mozambique.
18.104.22.168 Other Outputs
There are a number of other NRM outputs from CIMMYT. Simulation modeling was actively
promoted particularly in the early part of this review period, and CIMMYT developed a new
method to combine simulation modeling with GIS, allowing spatial integration of simulation
results. New routines were developed to model phosphorous responses and residual effects
within APSIM and DSSAT models.
Recognition of plant nutrient disorder, such as Zn deficiency in wheat in Turkey, is also a
significant discovery. In collaboration with breeders, the NRM scientists identified the best
germplasm for high Fe and Zn content in wheat grain. Calibration of NDVI sensor was done
to commercially diagnose N deficiency in wheat.
The NRG published a total of 22 peer-reviewed publications during the review period (Table
3.3). The average, 0.4 publications per staff member annually has been rather low relative to
other similar groups, but publishing rate seems to be increasing. Nearly all publications
(91%) were done jointly with partners, mostly with institutions from the South.
Table 3.3 Natural Resources Group Publications and Staff (1999-2004)
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
All peer reviewed publications 3 0 2 7 7 3
Jointly with partners 2 2 6 7 3
In regional journals 2
International staff 10 8 8 9 11 na
Peer-reviewed articles/staff 0.03 0 0.03 0.08 0.64
22.214.171.124 Conservation Agriculture
Conservation agriculture has been promoted in many different countries. In Bolivia,
permanent zero tillage had been adopted on some 300,000 ha by 2001. The NRG has had the
most significant impact in the IGP where the RWC has provided technical support and
information to farmers on conservation agriculture in rice-wheat double cropping. The area
of direct seeding of wheat into rice paddies after rice harvest increased rapidly from 260 ha
in 1997-98 to 560,000ha in 2002-03, 1,160,000 ha in 2003-04, and 3 million ha in 2004-05.
Farmers are now in possession of more than 20,000 zero-tillage planters. Net benefits in India
and Pakistan through higher yield and reduced production costs are estimated to have been
more than US$ 100 million in the winter of 2003 winter. This practice reduces tractor passes
in the field and saves some 75 million liters of diesel.
While conservation agriculture has been adopted more in the north-western part of IGP
where irrigation water is generally available for wheat, it has been now adopted in eastern
IGP as one of RCTs. In the state of Bihar, around 1,700 farmers have adopted the new
technology, and in Eastern Uttar Pradesh it was used by some 2,800 farmers and covers
45,000 ha. The technology is now spreading to areas of small farms (0.5-2 ha) where
irrigation water may not be fully available.
In Bangladesh, some 2,600 farmers benefited directly from the Bangladesh Hand Tractor
accessories applied to different crop production activities. Using these accessories, nearly
1,500 ha of land were planted to wheat, rice, maize and other crops in 2003-04. In 1998, 72 %
of wheat growers reduced the turnaround time between crops by using hand tractors
imported from China.
126.96.36.199 Adoption of Raised Bed Systems
The raised bed system developed in Mexico was rapidly introduced in other countries and is
well accepted by farmers in different regions. In China, this technology was tested in
Shandong Province in the Yellow River Basin recently, and over 26,000 ha are now planted
on beds. This water saving technology is expected to expand rapidly in the Yellow River
Basin particularly with rice, maize and wheat, as there is a shortage of irrigation water.
188.8.131.52 Minimizing the Effect of Soil Fertility Decline in Sub-Sahara Africa
While results of many experiments appear promising in maintaining soil fertility or
increasing grain yield, technology adoption is generally poor in East and Central Africa. The
External Review of the Africa Maize Stress Project (AMS) in 2001 brought up this issue. It
states: '... there have been extensive studies of tied ridges in East and Central Africa, which
have clearly demonstrated their agronomic benefits. The major problem in all the countries is
lack of adoption for socio-economic reasons. The Review Team found little evidence of
adequate ex ante evaluation of many of the agricultural experiments conducted.
Consequently, results in many cases merely confirm well-known agronomic advantages of
many of the treatments, but are not likely to produce technologies that are adoptable in the
short to medium term. It is well known that legume fallows will significantly increase the
yield of the following maize crop, as will poultry or farm yard manure! The problem is the
economic returns to farmers in areas of labor or capital scarcity'. Perhaps the most significant
impact of CIMMYT work in this area has been to raise awareness of the broad constraint that
soil fertility imposes on maize-based cropping systems in Africa.
A few networks involving CIMMYT in Africa contributed to some adoption of technologies.
The new Soil Fertility Consortium for southern Africa includes a number of NGOs and
farmer associations and the best bet technologies are being thoroughly tested. With farmer
participation, it is likely that technologies will be more readily adopted. One of the objectives
of the Consortium is to focus on making field-level impacts on crop and soil management
and outcomes are expected within a few years.
CIMMYT has made excellent achievements in NRM in the last several years, particularly in
the area of conservation agriculture in Asia. CIMMYT's applied research in NRM in the last
several years concentrated on development of conservation agriculture practices: zero tillage,
crop rotation and raised beds that reduced soil degradation and water use and increase
productivity. These practices provide a unifying theme for CIMMYT's NRM research in the
wheat and maize-based cropping system. The major achievement in this review period has
been wide adoption of these technologies. This was the result of collaboration with many
partners in CGIAR Centers (IRRI in particular) and other organizations. Thus NRM
accelerated technology transfer, and assisted site specific technology development. This was
particularly the case in the rice-wheat system in the IGP. The RWC received the CGIAR King
Baudouin Award for promoting conservation agriculture that benefits large numbers of
farmers in the IGP of South Asia
CIMMYT has made significant contribution to the RWC. The RWC is driven by NARS, but it
operates as an inter-institutional and inter-center multidisciplinary network facilitating
systems-based farmer participatory research in the rice-wheat cropping system of the IGP.
As the convening Center, it has successfully developed a culture of collaboration for many
partners in the Consortium. External review of the RWC, commissioned by CIMMYT at the
request of the Regional Steering Committee of the RWC, concluded that the RWC had been a
successful innovation serving as a model for regional and international cooperation with a
credible record of achievements. The Panel endorses this view.
Success in NRM research and development in CIMMYT has commonly followed a particular
pattern: young scientists come to Mexico from Turkey and China, for example, to study
(short course, e.g. 1 month), learn practical aspects of conservation agriculture, and then they
develop technology in their home countries to suit their physical and socio-economical
environments, with the assistance of CIMMYT scientists. This is also the case for Mexico
itself where some 15 students were trained in the last 20 years or so in NRM, but not in
recent years. It is suggested that CIMMYT ensure that a new generation of agronomists in
partner countries is given the opportunity to be trained by senior CIMMYT scientists
184.108.40.206 Resource Saving Water use Research
Although applied research in conservation agriculture has been excellent and the technology
is well adopted by farmers particularly in Asia, strategic research is required to understand
resource use efficiency. For example, data on the impact of raised bed system on water
saving and raising the water table do not appear available. Similarly the overall impact of
plot level technology on total water use at the basin level is yet to be determined.
This issue of lack of strategic research was documented in detail in the 4th EPMR. The report
states 'Adoption of conservation tillage and improved residue management will alter
nutrient cycling rates and processes, water relations, weed species, and disease and insect
pressure. The magnitude of these changes and their interactions in tropical and subtropical
environments, however, will be fundamentally different from those found in temperate
regions. Strategic research is required to better understand these processes. This knowledge
will facilitate applied and adaptive research by identifying key parameters to measure and
appropriate environments for conducting on-farm research, and opportunities for modifying
other management practices to fully exploit the benefits of conservation tillage systems'. The
same statement can be made at this point in time.
220.127.116.11 Wheat vs. Maize NRM
As indicated above, the excellent work by CIMMYT scientists in NRM in wheat agronomy
has had tremendous impact on recent agricultural development, particularly in Asia. Impact
in maize based cropping system is however much less than that in cropping systems that
involve wheat. This is at least partly related to the smaller resources available to the maize
NRM compared with the wheat NRM in CIMMYT.
3.4 Economics Program
CIMMYT's Economics Program was discontinued in January 2004. The Impact Targeting and
Assessment Program (ITA) took over most of the activities of the Economics Program, with
the disciplinary support of the Social Sciences Group (SSG), which also has the mandate to
generate specialized inputs for the other five new research programs. In the sections that
follow, the evolution, performance and achievements of the Economics Program will be
3.4.2 The Role of Social Sciences in the CGIAR
Four major roles can be identified for social scientists working in the CGIAR Centers: 1)Ex
post impact assessment: to gauge the efficacy of CIMMYT's work and to estimate the social
rate of return (or the benefit-cost ratio or the net present value) of investments made by
donors in CIMMYT programs; 2) Ex ante impact assessment: to provide valuable
information for the strategic planning process and monitoring of its implementation and as a
tool for priority setting and research resource allocation; 3) Studies on adoption paths and
constraints to adoption of improved technology by farmers; 4) Agricultural and
macroeconomic policy analysis: to assist management in the assessment of critical variables
and processes outside of the control of the institute that might affect (positively or
negatively) the outcome of its intervention strategies.
3.4.3 Staffing and Budgeting
The number of IRS seems to have remained relatively stable from 1999 to 2004, with a drop
from 12 economist in 1999 to the current 8, and 2 non-economist social scientists throughout
the period. This is still far from the 1992 peak (25 social scientists, 23 of them economists).
In the last years the Economics Program budget was reduced from approximately US$ 2
million in 1999 to about US$ 1.7 million in 2003, with nearly all the cut in unrestricted
funding. In 2000, the Economics Program peaked in terms of staff and budget after which the
program size has been reduced.
The Economics Program has been involved in three projects during the period 1999-2003:
* Global Project 7: Gauging the Productivity, Equity and Environmental Impact of Modern
Maize and Wheat Production Systems (from 2001 Project 7: Impacts of maize and wheat
* Frontier Project 4: Improving Human Nutrition by Enhancing Bio-available Protein and
Micronutrient Concentration in Maize, Wheat and Triticale (from 2001 Project 19:
Biofortified Grain for Human Health; later HarvestPlus CP).
* Frontier Project 6: Priority Setting and Technology Forecasting for Increased Research
Efficiency (from 2001 Project 21: Technology Assessment for Poverty Reduction and
Sustainable Resource Use).
To facilitate the assessment of their relevance, the outputs (peer-reviewed papers and
CIMMYT publications, excluding drafts and internal working papers) for the period under
review were classified into the following categories:
1. Impact (Global; Regional; National; Local/case studies)
2. Adoption and constraints to adoption
3. Participatory research
4. Priority Setting
5. Policy Analysis
6. Prospective Analysis
Table 3.4 shows the Economics Program outputs as peer-reviewed journal articles and non-
peer reviews publications (CIMMYT publications, including books).
Table 3.4 Economics Program: Outputs 1999-2004 (Peer-reviewed/non-peer reviewed
Impact Adoption Particip. Priority Policy Prospect. Other
research setting analysis analysis
Year Global Regional National Local
1999 0/0 1/0 0/0 0/0 0/4 0/0 0/0 1/1 0/3 1/7
2000 1/0 0/1 0/0 0/0 1/1 2/1 1/0 0/0 0/0 2/1
2001 '2 0/2 0/1 0/0 2/1 1/1 0/0 0/2 0/0 3/1
2002 0/2 0/0 0/2 0/0 0/0 0/2 0/0 0/0 0/0 5/1
2003 2/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 2/2 2/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 9/6
2004 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0/4 1/0 0/4 1/0 0/0 2/0
Total 4/4 1/3 0/3 0/0 5/12 6/4 1/4 2/3 0/3 22/16
A total of 40 of peer-reviewed publications were made by IRS Economics Program staff over
the 1999-2004 period, averaging 0.6 peer reviewed publications per year (1999-2004). Twenty
three of them were published jointly with partners predominantly from the North.
The Panel reviewed a sample of these publications and concluded that the academic level
and relevance has been excellent.
From the analysis of the publications, there appears to be a significant concentration of
program resources in three themes: adoption-constraints studies (17 publications), ex post
impact studies at the global, regional and national levels (8, 4 and 3 publications,
respectively), and participatory research (10 publications). No publications dealing with
impacts at the local level were found. The Panel was surprised to learn that no ex ante impact
studies were found among the list of publications made available to it.
As reflected by the kinds of publications CIMMYT's Economics Program has published,
there has been lack of attention to policy analysis (the theme of Project Global 7) and
prospective studies, where very little has been published.
The Panel's overall assessment of CIMMYT's Economics Program is that it has been, within
the organizational structure that was in place until 2004, highly effective in two of the four
roles identified above, generating outputs and providing services to the other programs, in
most instances with the participation of national research institutions in the subject matters
of: i) Ex post impact assessment, at the national, regional and global levels; ii) Studies on
highly location-specific technology adoption paths and constrains to the adoption of
The 4th EPMR of CIMMYT made three recommendations with respect to the Economics
Program. Addressing Recommendation 13, the Panel believes that the Economics Program
has strengthened over the period of time under consideration, its presence in Asia, judging
by the most recent CIMMYT publications on production systems, constraints and research
priorities in Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, all of them written with the
participation of or exclusively by staff affiliated with NARS, Ministries of Agriculture and
universities. The methodological tools used in these studies was developed at CIMMYT and
they provide a substantial amount of relevant information about production functions in
selected agroecological regions and constraints to adoption of improved technology.
The Panel found no documented evidence that CIMMYT has addressed Recommendation 12
of the 4th EPMR on the need to make, in discussions with the RCC, a determination as to a
balance of the Economics Programs's institution-wide activities, research activities, support
to other programs, support to NARS and its own frontier research.
With respect to Recommendation 14, on the need for a gradual increase in emphasis on
macroeconomic policy analysis of selected countries, the Panel has noticed that the
publications on that particular subject have been surprisingly few and wide apart during the
period under consideration.
On the other hand, the Panel acknowledges that, with the establishment of the SSG in 2004,
CIMMYT has in a way addressed effectively a suggestion made by the 4th EPMR regarding
the need to introduce changes in both the disciplinary composition and the denomination of
the Economics Program.
The Panel could not find any documented evidence of the Economics Program having
conducted, as suggested by the 4th EPMR, a priority-setting exercise for its own work.
As far as the outreached-based SSG staff, the Panel was able to confirm, on the ground,
during a field visit to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Kenya, the commitment of the social
scientists, as well as the efficacy, high quality and relevance of their work in SSA, regarding
research associated with and services provided to the African Livelihoods Program (ALP), as
well as capacity building in social sciences and networking. A great deal of effort is currently
underway, with the support of the SSG based in El Batan, to make progress in developing
methodologies to conduct impact studies using the Sustainable Livelihood Approach.
However, the Panel is concerned with the fact that the complexity of the approach itself will
make it difficult for the ALP and the other Eco-Regional Programs to have ex post impact
studies implemented by the time the current MTP is completed, since the necessary baselines
that must include the new indicators (which are in the process of being selected and
defined), are still under construction and will be for quite some time before they can become
operational as benchmarks for the assessment of CIMMYT's work.
3.5 Applied Biotechnology Center
The ABC was established in 1990 and elevated to full program status in 1995. It served two
functions in the CIMMYT until its discontinuation in 2004. First, it provided molecular
marker services to the other programs particularly to the wheat and maize breeding
programs and the Genetic Resources Center. Second, it initiated and conducted independent
research on biotechnology in wheat and maize. The ABC was largely supported by special
project funds with less than 10% unrestricted funding in recent years.
* Reliable and efficient transformation technologies in bread wheat, durum wheat and
maize. The ABC, in partnership with the Cooperative Research Center for Molecular
Plant Breeding, has achieved a significant advance in improving both the level and
reliability of transformation of specific wheat genotypes using biolistic bombardment-
based transformation technology.
* Development of over 19,000 transgenic wheat lines carrying genes related to biotic and
* Enhanced capacity to routinely screen for molecular markers to facilitate MAS in both
wheat and maize. The current capacity of the laboratory is about 60000 assays per year
and is expected to increase significantly in the foreseeable future.
* Development and application of MAS systems in maize for QPM and Maize Streak Virus
which facilitates the transfer of these traits to a wide range of maize germplasm.
* Development and application of MAS systems in wheat for a range of traits including
disease resistance, phasic development, physiological characters and quality traits.
* Development of a new strategy for the use of MAS in breeding programs-Single Large
* Development of large scale fingerprinting technology for maize and a bulk fingerprinting
method for heterogeneous populations.
* Diversity analyses in maize in association with the breeding programs to better
understand the occurrence of heterosis within the existing breeding crosses, populations,
synthetics and inbreds with the aim of developing better technologies for hybrid
prediction and better ways to generate superior synthetics and new modern maize
* Development and complete characterisation of 9 transgenic wheat lines with various Cry
genes for insect resistance.
* Isolation and characterisation of genes related to the reproductive pathway of maize that
may be related to apomictic development.
* Development of protocols to allow for the first field testing of transgenic wheat in
Table 3.5 Biotechnology program publications and staff for 1999-2004
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
All peer reviewed publications 12 4 9 13 12 15
Jointly with partners 10 3 7 8 11 8
In regional journals 1 3 1 1
International staff 22 19 17 15 15 na
Peer-reviewed articles/staff 0.5 0.2 0.5 0.7 0.8
The Biotechnology Group produced some 65 peer reviewed publications during 1999-2004
(Table 3.5), on average 0.6 per researcher annually (1999-2003). Of these publications, 47 were
done jointly with partners involving institutions both in the North and the South. The Group
also produced 11 other publications.
The Biotechnology Group is primarily a research and services group that generates
intermediate products, principally aimed at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of
CIMMYT's breeding and pathology programs, rather than products that impact directly on
the poor. Their success can be judged by the fact that the demand for their products by other
groups in CIMMYT greatly exceeds their capacity to supply them. In addition, they have a
number of developments in the pipeline that are likely to impact significantly on CIMMYT's
breeding programs. These include new tools to identify highly heterotic combinations in
maize which should improve the efficiency of the breeding process by helping to reduce the
number of hybrid combinations that need to be made, and reduce the time taken to identify
potential commercial varieties. They also include an increasing number of molecular markers
for QTL's controlling stress tolerance, particularly drought tolerance, in both wheat and
The Biotechnology Group provides CIMMYT scientists with a strong base and support in
modern molecular genetic technologies including molecular marker development and
validation in both wheat and maize, identification of QTLs for priority traits in the breeding
programs, tissue culture and transformation technologies, and bioinformatics. It has been a
highly successful program that has attracted, and continues to attract, additional donor
support to the Center. The ABC prior to its closure established a high throughput service
laboratory to provide molecular marker services to the wheat and maize breeding programs.
This unit which was originally housed within the ABC provides in-house services such as
DNA extraction, mapping and marker assay work on a routine basis. About 60,000 assays
are performed in the service laboratory per annum. The Panel congratulates the former ABC
on this initiative. However, it is clear that the demand for marker services in the breeding
programs will quickly exceed the current capacity of the service laboratory. Hence there is an
ongoing need to increase the capacity of the laboratory to meet breeders' needs.
There have been no CCERs of the ABC since its establishment. However, because of its
strong portfolio of special projects there have been a significant number of donor reviews.
The EPMR did not have access to these reviews as they are usually confidential with the
donor. If special projects continue to be a major component of the research portfolio of most
Centers, and there is little evidence of this changing, the Panel suggests that reviews by
donors need to become a routine input into the EPMR.
4 THE NEW RESEARCH PROGRAM
CIMMYT's new research structure has six broad thematic Programs, two global and four
eco-regional, designed to catalyze interdisciplinary research in collaboration with a wide
range of partners including ARIs, NARIs, NGOs, private companies, and other CGIAR
Centers. These six Programs will interact with Groups representing expertise in scientific
disciplines. In this new matrix structure, the Programs are the vehicles to deliver outputs and
impact, and the disciplinary Groups role is to ensure a critical mass of expertise in key areas
and continuing scientific excellence.
At the time of the EPMR the new Program had only been effectively functioning for 10
months and several of the newly appointed Program Directors had just taken up their posts.
In reality the new program structure was a work in progress and is likely to remain such for
some time. Hence it was not possible to assess the capacity of the new Program to deliver
their planned outputs and impacts. Rather in this Chapter the Panel critically assesses
progress towards implementation of the new program structure, in particular, the new
elements of each Program.
4.2 Genetic Resources
The Genetic Resources Program (GRP) is one of the two global Programs in the new
structure. The globally important collection of genetic resources of wheat and maize held in
trust by CIMMYT is regarded by the Center and its stakeholders as one of its primary assets.
This Program supports the Center's ethical and legal commitment to the long term
conservation and guaranteed availability as public goods of the genetic resources it holds. It
also provides the vehicle for the Center with its partners to characterize and use those
resources to improve germplasm targeted to smallholder farmers. The Program contains
CIMMYT's biotechnology research.
4.2.1 Objectives and Priority Setting
The theme of GRP is the harnessing of maize and wheat genetic diversity for humanity. Its
broad objective is to enhance the productivity, nutritional quality, profitability and stability
of wheat and maize varieties used for food and feed through the targeted use of global
The Program has three specific objectives each with a number of components:
Objective 1: Global custodianship, characterization and management of the genetic
resources of maize, wheat and related species
1. Improvement of collections held in trust through acquisition of key related species and
genetic materials of maize and wheat
2. Inventory of entire wheat collection checking quantity, viability and data quality
3. Characterization of maize and wheat genetic resources for key traits
4. Development of web-based genebank information, management and distribution system
5. Development and application of statistical and simulation models for efficient
maintenance and use of maize and wheat genetic resources
6. Development of strategies for on-farm management of genetic resources
Fifty percent (50%) of the Program's resources will be targeted at this objective in 2004.
However, this figure is expected to drop to forty percent (40%) by 2009 as work on the
genebank management and bioinformatics systems is completed and fully implemented.
Objective 2: Enhanced utilization of genetic resources globally
1. Development of maize and wheat consensus maps for tolerance/resistance to abiotic and
biotic stresses, and enhanced grain nutrition
2. Identification of genes, alleles and biological pathways involved in tolerance to abiotic
and biotic stresses, enhanced grain quality, and asexual reproduction apomixiss)
3. Development of bioinformatics platform for handling and analyzing genomic data
4. Development of useful maize and wheat germplasm with enhanced tolerance to abiotic
and biotic stresses and enhanced grain quality
5. Improved MAS strategies for use by CIMMYT and its partners
6. Production of genetically engineered wheat and maize lines carrying key genes for
deployment to CIMMYT partners
Forty percent (40%) of the Program's resources will be targeted at this objective in 2004. This
is expected to rise to forty five percent (45%) in 2009 with increased emphasis on trait and
gene discovery and germplasm development.
Objective 3: Enhanced capacity in genetic resource management maintenance and use in
CIMMYT and its NARS partners
1. Facilitation of improved capacity by CIMMYT's partners for storage and management of
2. Increased use of genomic approaches by CIMMYT and its partners in germplasm
characterization, gene discovery and germplasm development
Ten (10%) percent of the Program's resources will be devoted to capacity building in 2004
rising to fifteen percent (15%) in 2009.
Priority setting for this Program was initially carried out as part of the extensive
consultations undertaken in 2002/2003 for the new CIMMYT strategic plan and also in the
formulation of the complementary strategy for the Genetic Resources and HarvestPlus CP to
which it contributes. No economic studies are available to underpin the priority setting
process or to identify priority traits for germplasm enhancement and gene discovery
projects. A major priority setting exercise to refine the priorities for the 2005 -2007+ MTP was
conducted during a GRP meeting held in Mexico in September 2004.
4.2.2 Program Structure
At the end of 2004, 20 scientists were involved in the Program contributing the equivalent of
17.5 person years of full time equivalents (FTEs). The distribution was 5.5, 10.5, and 1.5 FTEs
respectively in Objectives 1, 2, and 3.
Pre-existing Elements The Program contains several major ongoing activities at CIMMYT.
These include the operation of the Wellhausen-Anderson Plant Genetic Resources Center
which covers the conservation, documentation and regeneration of the accessions held in
trust by CIMMYT; the screening of genetic resource collections for traits of interest to
CIMMYT and NARS maize and wheat improvement Program; management of intellectual
property associated with genetic resources; wide-crossing and pre-breeding activities; and
on-farm management of traditional varieties.
New Elements GRP contributes to two CGIAR Challenge Programs Genetic Resources
(Generation CP) and HarvestPlus and most of these activities are new although they
complement ongoing CIMMYT activities. For example, under the Generation CP, CIMMYT
has new projects on genetic diversity, comparative genomics and gene transfer, although
these were already strong areas at CIMMYT.
4.2.3 Expected Projected Outputs and Impacts
By 2007 GRP expects to achieve outputs in the following areas: Global genetic resources
networks involving most of the maize and wheat genebanks established and operating;
Enhanced collections of wheat, maize and their near relatives, particularly from Latin
America, Africa and Asia, and cytogenetic stocks in wheat; Complete inventory of CIMMYT
wheat genetic stocks; Characterization of wheat and maize accessions at phenotypic or
molecular levels; Globally accessible web-based genebank information, management and
distribution system implemented; Strategies for efficient genebank management;
Information on gene-flow in farmers fields; Consensus maps for drought tolerance and insect
resistance in Maize and drought tolerance and Fusarium resistance in wheat; Genes, alleles
and pathways for improving a range of biotic and abiotic stress tolerances in maize and
wheat; DNA samples from genetic resource accessions for use in structural and functional
genomic studies; Bioinformatics platform; New synthetic or bridge wheats from A, B and D
genomes; Increased use of MAS in wheat and maize and double haploids in wheat;
Transgenic maize and wheat lines with required regulatory information for transfer to NARS
partners; and Training in genetic resources conservation and use.
Impacts are projected both in improved gene-bank operation and genetic resource use. The
Program expects to develop an integrated CIMMYT genebank covering both wheat and
maize with a more comprehensive, fully documented and conserved set of accessions and to
establish strong working linkages to wheat and maize genebanks in both developing and
developed countries as part of a global network. Key maize and wheat accessions are to be
characterized. The Program aims at enhancing the understanding of the genetic basis of
tolerance to a range of biotic and abiotic stresses and developing effective strategies for on-
farm conservation and on-going management of traditional varieties. Both molecular and
conventional pre-breeding technologies will be developed and used to facilitate the transfer
of desirable traits from genebank accessions to elite germplasm. A comprehensive data
management system which enables global web-based access to information on genetic
This is an exciting and ambitious Program that builds effectively on the pre-existing
activities in genetic resources at CIMMYT. The Panel commends CIMMYT for its continued
leadership role in this area, and for its strong commitment to the conservation and use of
wheat and maize genetic resources. It is pleased to see that this Program seeks to build
global wheat and maize global genetic resources networks with partners in both developed
and developing countries. The Panel is also pleased to see that the new Program seeks to
rectify a number of shortcomings of the pre-existing activities in this area. In particular, the
* Amalgamation of the formerly separate wheat and maize collections into one integrated
unit. The existence of separate genebanks is historical and relates to the time when they
were part of separate wheat and maize programs at the Center. Successive reviews have
called for the integration of the activities into a cohesive, unified and efficient program.
Until now CIMMYT has failed to fully grasp the nettle. The benefits of a single program
would not only be financial but also political. It is hard for CIMMYT to argue globally for
greater co-operation amongst genebanks of smaller developing countries, or among the
genebanks of Future Harvest Centers, if it cannot demonstrate such cooperation in house.
* The development of a comprehensive data base management system for the integrated
genebank to enable global web-based access. In the past, CIMMYT was at the forefront in
this area with the development of IWIS (International Wheat Information System) and
involved in the transformation of that system into ICIS by a consortium of CGIAR
Centers. It withdrew from this activity in 2002/03. The Panel notes that CIMMYT is
formally investigating the adoption and implementation of ICIS which, if it were
accepted, would bring CIMMYT in line with several other Centers including IRRI. The
Panel strongly supports this decision. (For recommendation see Chapter 5.)
* Completion of the inventory of the entire wheat collection held by CIMMYT checking
seed quantity and viability, and data quality. The wheat collection at CIMMYT has been
poorly managed for a number of years and a significant backlog has built up in two
areas: seed increase and entry of information into the IWIS database. Again the Panel
commends CIMMYT for its commitment to rectify these ongoing problems.
* Greater emphasis on maize pre-breeding through development of a breeder's core subset
of tropical and subtropical lowland accessions based on field evaluation data. Pre-
breeding will broaden the genetic base of the CIMMYT maize genepools for tropical,
subtropical and tropical highland climatic conditions.
* More targeted research in maize on in situ on-farm conservation to enhance farmers'
varieties. Such work has started by analyzing the intra-racial diversity of the race
complexes that are being cultivated by farmers today. The best accessions representing
the racial diversity and characteristics required by farmers should be reconstituted and
efficiently used. This is an attractive approach to improve in situ farmers' seed and
* A commitment to molecular characterization of the wheat and maize accessions it holds
in trust using molecular markers on a priority basis. However, the Panel was of the view
that CIMMYT needed to greatly enhance its capacity in high throughput marker
technology, either through investment in new technologies or greatly increased
investment in established technologies. Unless it does this in the very near future, it will
not be able to meet the demands for these services from the genetic resources and
breeding research and hence its own Programs. CIMMYT will also have to review its
need for capacity in bioinformatics, particularly in terms of operational resources.
The Panel noted that the use of molecular markers in maize breeding is lagging behind that
in wheat breeding. This is surprising given the high use of molecular markers in private
maize breeding program. The Panel therefore strongly suggests that CIMMYT should
establish a working group composed of researchers from the Biotechnology Group and
maize breeding to ensure faster application and efficient use of molecular markers in maize
The Panel also noted CIMMYT's commitment to the prevention of the unintended presence
of transgenic materials (GMOs) within its genebank accessions through rigorous gene bank
management and congratulates the Center on its comprehensive efforts in this area.
4.3 Impacts Targeting and Assessment
Most of the staff and the activities conducted by the Economics Program were transferred to
Program 2, Impacts Targeting and Assessment (ITA), at the beginning of 2004. The
economists and other social scientists, previously in the Economics Program, and the newly
recruited ITA staff, also belong to the Social Sciences Group, which has been assigned the
task of providing inputs for the ITA.
4.3.1 Objectives and Priority Setting
The overall goal of Program 2 is to increase CIMMYT's impact on improving the livelihoods
of poor maize and wheat producers and consumers in the developing world.
The program has five specific objectives. Following a priority setting exercise, the objectives
were prioritized according to their expected contribution to the achievement of the overall
goal of the program. This did not involve an ex ante analysis, and the criteria for the
assignment of weights were of an ad hoc nature. The objectives and their relative share of
resources are the following:
* Objective 1 (20%): CIMMYT will strongly orient its work towards poverty reduction and
will take into consideration the role of wheat and maize in cropping systems and
* Objective 2 (25%): CIMMYT's work is carried out efficiently and effectively using "best
practices" (optimal mix of tried-and-true methods and cutting edge methods).
* Objective 3 (30%): Impact of CIMMYT's work is rigorously documented and effectively
* Objective 4 (10%): Policy implications inform policy debates and are used by policy
makers in decision-making.
* Objective 5 (15%): CIMMYT knowledge and information enhance the capacity of partners
The three thrusts of the Program are: targeting technology to poverty reduction; utilization
of maize and wheat diversity; and role of quality in product markets and nutrition.
4.3.2 Program Structure
As of February 2005, 15 IRS staff is involved in the program, which has 9.7 FTE in total.
Eleven staff members, including the Program Director, are based in Mexico. Six allocate
100% of their time to ITA (4 others allocated between 20 and 40% of time to the program).
The 4 outreach staff allocate between 20 and 30% to the program. There are two IRS staff in
Zimbabwe, one in Kenya and one in India. Considering that all ITA staff, with the exception
of the Training Coordinator, are also in the SSG, the Panel suggests that all ITA social
scientists, not only those nominated as focal points, should allocate some time to other
programs, to prevent cocooning.
Pre-existing Elements ITA continues with adoption, ex post impact and sustainable
livelihood approach studies.
New Elements Greater emphasis is placed on poverty analysis, including the development
of various types of databases containing socioeconomic and other data with information on
maize and wheat sectors (to provide general context for poverty and livelihoods).
4.3.3 Projected Outputs
By 2007 ITA expects to have outputs in the following areas: Generate knowledge to enable
better understanding of causes and symptoms of poverty and of the livelihood strategies of
the poor, to enable better understanding of the role played by maize and wheat in the
livelihood strategies of the poor, and to understand the potential of improved maize and
wheat technologies to provide pathways out of poverty; Improved knowledge of poverty
and livelihoods for targeting and research priority setting at CIMMYT; Identify Best practices
and methodologies, and modify and use current practices and methodologies modified as
appropriate; Document and synthesize adoption of improved technologies and impacts
attributable to technology adoption; Analyze policy implications relevant to CIMMYT
mission drawn from CIMMYT and partner research; Synthesize CIMMYT information and
knowledge and make it accessible; and Enhance partners' capacity for maize and wheat
The Training Coordinator allocates 100% of his time to ITA which seems inconsistent with
his Center wide role and activities. (See Chapter 7 for section on training)
The Panel commends CIMMYT for the new orientation, since the lack of reliable information
about the significant differences between agrecological regions in one country has made it
very difficult to construct baselines and conduct rigorous and comparable ex ante impact
studies of technology adoption. One dimension seems to be missing, though: that of the
differences in productivity not attributable to agroecological factors. The Panel
acknowledges that CIMMYT's most recent research includes, in cooperation with local
partners, the estimation of maximum, minimum and average yield data for selected
agroecological regions, but a more precise picture of the technological situation would be of
great help both in research priority setting and policy formulation.
The Panel recommends that ITA, in cooperation with the ecoregional programs, collect data
on the variables that explain the heterogeneity of the existing production functions and thus,
of yields (both potential and actual) that express differences attributable to productivity
gaps within the same agroecological region, due to constraints that limit the adoption of
The ITA logframe also includes ex ante impact studies, "best practices" activities and policy
analysis. Regarding the last subject, The 4th EPMR recommended that the Economics
Program; in view of the increasing importance of macroeconomic policies as they affect maize and
wheat, gradually place more emphasis on this aspect of research focusing on a few selected countries.
During the Panel's field trip to three countries in southern Africa (Mozambique, Zimbabwe
and Kenya), it became evident that, in all three cases, the single most important constraint to
the adoption of improved technology by poor farmers is associated with agricultural and/or
macroeconomic policy issues. Should the national political winds shift direction, it would be
extremely valuable to have readily available to the national governments the results and
policy recommendations of those studies as soon as the demand arises. This could make a
great deal of difference in the prospects for reducing the time span required to realize
improvements in poor farmers' livelihoods.
The Panel recommends that ITA initiate macroeconomic studies by 2006 in close
cooperation with IFPRI and other CGIAR Centers. The highest priority should be assigned
to sub-Saharan African countries.
Ex ante impact assessment studies cannot be successfully designed and carried out without
the effective contribution of breeders, resource conservation, crop management and others
specialists, for instance, in the construction of baselines and the identification and description
of technology impact pathways.
To facilitate the establishment of a multidisciplinary approach to conducting ex ante impact
studies, the Panel recommends that increased integration through time allocation be secured
between ITA staff and non-social scientists in the other programs.
There is need to improve the Program's work plan from the current MTP logframe. The ITA
goal is to increase CIMMYT's impact, but neither verifiable indicators nor means of
verification are listed to enable independent assessment studies to monitor the achievement
of this goal. As no quantification is attempted there is no way to define a baseline for
"livelihoods of poor maize and wheat producers and consumers", the magnitude of the
"help" the program would provide or the size of its end-result, the increase in CIMMYT's
impact. The Panel also notes that the relevant assumption associated with this goal, Current
focus on poverty and livelihoods maintained, is an internal matter of the Center.
Objective 1 does not have an associated baseline either, and in fact it would be very hard to
construct one. Therefore, no impact can be measured, ex ante or ex post. The verifiable
indicator included in the logframe is of little use: CIMMYT resources allocated in pro poor
fashion; CIMMYT outputs useful to the poor and jointly developed with appropriate partners.
Similar observations can be made about all the 5 specific objectives included in the
Program's logframe. Therefore, the Panel suggests that ITA revisits the entire logframe
structure and content to ensure that the necessary adjustments are introduced to overcome
its present limitations.
4.4 Sustaining African Livelihoods
This new Program covers the most critical and resource poorest region in the world. SSA as
defined by the World Bank covers all African countries excluding Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia,
Libya, and Egypt. Some 700 million people or about 11% of the global population live in the
region. The per capital annual income, according to World Bank figures had a negative
growth of -11.9% from 1975 to 2003 and was only US$ 1,618 in 2003, while the per capital
annual income increased, for example, in the CWANA region by 13% in the same period (to
US$ 5,097) and in China by 68% (to US$ 4,344).
Maize is the most important food crop in SSA, accounting for more than 50% of the total
caloric consumption as food and feed (FAOSTAT 2004). The total maize acreage in SSA in
2003 reached almost 30 million ha, including an estimated 4 million ha maize for forage and
fresh food (not published in FAOSTAT). For the 26 million ha of maize grown for grain,
yield per ha in 2003 ranged from the lowest of Iq (Botswana) to 25q in Cameroon and 29q in
South Africa. The overall average yield/ha was only 12.3q (see Table 4.1).
There are 33 countries in SSA, each producing more then 50 000 ha of maize. Over the last 10
years 15 countries had no increase in yield/ha or a negative increase. Only 10 countries
showed an annual increase rate of above 2%, but the yields are generally still at very low
In comparison, major maize producing countries in the tropical to subtropical regions of Asia
and South America reached average grain yield of over 30q/ha in 2003 (Indonesia and
Vietnam 32 q/ha; Thailand and Brazil 37 q/ha). China has already reached 48q/ha and grain
yields in some major maize growing countries in the temperate world reached 80 to 90q/ha
in 2003. These figures reflect the contribution of breeding and improved seed in these
countries. Efforts in SSA need to be substantially increased in order to achieve similar
sustainable long term results.
Table 4.1 Production of Maize in Sub-Saharan Africa (1993-2003)
Country Ha in 2003 Trend Yield q/ha Production in q Changes in
C. African Rep.
Average 12.3 12%
Total about 26,000,000 for grain
overall 30,000,000 ha
of which 12,744,000 ha (almost 50%) have decreased yield trends
4.4.2 Objectives and Priority Setting
The ALP goal is to improve food supply, food security and livelihoods of resource-poor
smallholder farm families in all maize growing countries of Sub-Sahara-Africa. The Program
has one major objective: In close collaboration with partners from NARS, SRO's, NGO's,
private sector, farmers, and others develop and disseminate improved maize varieties,
production technologies targeted at maize-based systems and related policy
recommendations that contribute to higher and more stable farm-level productivity,
improved nutrition and livelihoods of resource-poor smallholder families while protecting
and enhancing the natural resource base. This objective has 9 components shown in Table 4.2
with the projected changes in their relative priority in 10 years time.
Table 4.2 ALP Research Components and Resource Allocation
Budget allocation %
Current in 10
1. Stress tolerant and nutritionally enhanced germplasm developed and 29 20
2. Improved seed systems for resource-poor developed and deployed 10 9
3. Diversified CNRM packages, including for post-harvest, developed and 23 27
4. Biotechnology and other new tools applied 7 13
5. Human resource capacity enhanced 10 10
6. Partnerships developed and enhanced to better serve the resource-poor 9 8
7. Participatory development and deployment of agricultural technology 6 8
8. Policy recommendations to enhance technology adoption 4 3
9. Wheat technology developed and deployed 2 2
Priority setting was based on experience over the last 10 years. The Program plans to alter
the relative allocation in the future. Compared to today, germplasm development is expected
to attract decreased funding, whereas the use of new biotechnology tools and NRM are
expected to receive increased funding.
4.4.3 Program Structure
In 2005, 21 scientists (total of 16.9 FTE) were involved in the Program. The Program Director
and 6 other scientists are located in Nairobi, Kenya. Three full time scientists are located in
Ethiopia and 7 in Zimbabwe. Four scientists from the headquarters in Mexico are involved
part time in the Program. The team is well balanced with a good mixture of experienced and
young well trained scientists.
4.4.4 Projected Outputs and Impact
The Program plans to deliver outputs related enhanced germplasm benefiting from farmer
participation and inputs, NRM and pest control technologies, information and capacity. By
2007 the outputs will include: Maize germplasm with improved stress tolerance, nutritional
quality, herbicide resistance for Striga control and traits required for integrated maize-
livestock systems, oil or starch production; Improved seed systems throughout SSA;
Improved wheat varieties and technology; Improved soil fertility and adoption of
conservation agriculture practices; Improved storage pest control; Alternatives for crop
choice, including cash crops; Assistance intellectual property, regulatory issues, and
biosafety; Institutional and partnership capacity, including in farmer participatory research
and seed systems.
The Program aims at reaching impact through: improved maize varieties and hybrids with
good adaptation and added grain values; RCTs combined with specifically adapted varieties
and hybrids resulting in sustainable cropping systems; most appropriate cropping systems
and increased yields/ha resulting in increased on-farm water productivity and soil fertility;
Increased feed and fodder value in maize varieties/hybrids; Improved nutritional value of
maize grain and maize products; and Strengthened capacity on research, human resources
and technology transfer.
This is an exciting and challenging Program and will be seen by many as a critically
important one for CIMMYT. It is also one which, if it has early successes, is likely to generate
increased ongoing support. The Panel was impressed with the breadth of the Program and
the quality and enthusiasm of the staff involved. Nevertheless it did have two concerns; one
in relation to the assumptions underlying the major objective of the Program and the second
the feasibility of effectively undertaking all nine components in the same time frame.
The major objective of this Program is very ambitious. While the development of improved
germplasm and better production technologies are CIMMYT's strengths the dissemination
and uptake of these technologies are dependent on a large number of factors over which
CIMMYT and its current partners have little influence, and which may threaten the
perceived success of the overall program. Further, the Panel feels that some of the
assumptions in the ALP MTP for reaching the broad goal of this Program are unrealistic and
are largely out of CIMMYT's control. For example, one key assumption appears to be that all
the governments of 33 countries in SSA are committed to the same goal as CIMMYT. Does
CIMMYT really expect this to happen in the near future?
While the relative priorities of the nine components, as reflected in the relative allocation of
resources amongst them, are hard to argue against, a key question is whether the projected
total budget is big enough to make significant impact in all 9 components and, hence to
generate sufficiently large continuous gains in productivity per unit area to improve the
livelihoods of the resource-poor rural populations. The Panel was concerned that the limited
budget for the project was in effect thinly spread over a wide range of activities and that this
spread of activities will ensure that all are done sub-optimally with the limited resources
available. The Panel suggests, therefore, that the Program should carefully examine its
priorities with a view of better supporting the higher priority activities and deferring less
pressing priorities for future years or until additional specific project funding is available to
CIMMYT and/or its partners.
The Panel felt that the highest priority was the development of germplasm for the low to
very low yielding Marginal Maize Production Areas (MMPAs) with specific traits, including
grain quality traits, required by producers. The second most important priority was the
development of a viable and profitable seed delivery system in the SSA. Without the
existence of an effective seed delivery system it will not be possible to routinely deliver the
improved germplasm generated by CIMMYT to farmers.
The Panel recommends that maize research in CIMMYT identify the high priority Marginal
Maize Production Areas (MMPAs) in each mega-environment. Based on such MMPAs, a
seed delivery system for improved cultivars should be developed jointly with partners as a
vehicle to make CIMMYT's upstream maize research results available to resource-poor
A third area of concern for the Panel was, in the light of the controversy surrounding the
release of GMOs, the relative emphasis given to transgenic and non-transgenic sources of
insect resistance in maize in the Program. The Panel feels the research started in the 1970s on
host plant resistance at CIMMYT should perhaps be accorded a higher priority in the new
regional Program than it currently has. The total funds allocated to host plant resistance
research for the last 14 years was US$ 2.9 million, compared with the total investment of Bt
related insect work of US$ 12 million. Donor material with effective insect resistance has
been identified but over the last decade it has not been used effectively in the most advanced
breeding material. New modern breeding tools are now available for successful integration
of such polygenic resistance during the breeding process for selecting better MV's. This level
of resistance may be more sustainable, much easier to handle in seed and trade systems, and
can have enormous impact on stabilizing yield at higher levels in MMPA's.
In addition, in its review of the maize breeding activities across Programs 1, 3, 5 and 6, the
Panel identified several other areas of maize research of importance to the delivery of
outputs in the ALP, including breeding to reduce mycotoxin contamination, use of fast track
technologies to reduce the time to market for improved germplasm, and the safe storage of
the back-log of maize breeding data so that it is available to the new Programs in an easily
accessible format and is not in danger of being lost forever with the departure of long
The Panel recommends that maize breeding and research efforts in the following areas be
* Grain quality characteristics of high priority to end users in MMPAs, combined with
more systematic research and breeding to reduce mycotoxin contamination on the grain;
* Testing and evaluation of breeding materials directly in the MMPAs, for identification
of the best material for release;
* Non-transgenic host plant insect resistance research to speed up the process of
integration of the highly resistant CIMMYT germplasm into new varieties;
* Application of fast track breeding techniques (doubled haploid, MAS, NIR techniques) in
all maize breeding activities in CIMMYT;
* Acquisition, storage and management of maize breeding data to eliminate the current
4.5 Rainfed Wheat Systems
Rainfed Wheat Systems Program (RFWS) is an eco-regional Program focused on producing
outputs for smallholder farmers in the rainfed wheat areas of lesser developed countries
(LDCs). About 56 million ha of wheat are grown in LDCs, principally in CWANA (21m ha),
northern Kazakhstan (11m ha), Latin America (8.5m ha), China (7m ha) and India (6m ha).
Spring wheats (23m ha), facultative and winter wheats (19m ha) and high altitude wheats
(14m ha) all have an important place in the target areas. In these areas, crop production
systems are based on bread and durum wheat, barley, and pulses although maize is an
important crop in some areas and triticale has shown great potential as a food and fodder
crop. Livestock are also a key component in many areas. Rainfall is variable and drought is
common, therefore wheat yields are low averaging 1.6t/ha across all LDCs. The growing
period is short and options for diversification limited. Land degradation therefore results
from overgrazing of pastures, intensive tillage of arable land, and the grazing of crop
residues. Food security often depends heavily on wheat, which sometimes provides more
than half of the calories consumed daily and micronutrient mal nutrition is widespread.
4.5.1 Objectives and Priority Setting
The overall theme of Program 4 is reducing vulnerability by managing risk in rainfed
systems. Its broad objective is to reduce poverty by increasing the ability of farm households
to manage the risks to their livelihoods by improving local and regional food, feed and
fodder security in rainfed wheat systems and by slowing or halting land degradation.
Priority setting for this Program was carried out as part of the extensive consultations
undertaken in 2002/2003 for the new CIMMYT strategic plan and in the formulation of the
applications for the three CGIAR CPs (Water and Food, HarvestPlus, and Generation) to
which CIMMYT contributes. While there have been no formal ex ante economic studies to
underpin the priority setting process, CIMMYT scientists have been re-examining the
concept of mega-environments that CIMMYT has used to develop targeted germplasm for
specific environments and particular biotic and abiotic problems for about the last 18 years.
CIMMYT has developed a new system of classification that better allows it to estimate the
probability of sustainable impact based on the major stresses and the technologies available
or under development to counter each stress. This system has been used to determine the
medium -term priorities for this project.
The Program has three specific objectives each with a number of components:
Objective 1: The development and transfer to partners and farmers of new or improved crop
or agronomic components in sustainable wheat-based production systems.
1. Development, characterization and distribution to partners of specific trait gene-pools
2. Genetically diverse wheat varieties made available to partners
3. RCTs developed, tested and adopted with partners and farmers
Seventy percent of the Program resources will be targeted at this objective and this level of
commitment is expected to remain constant over the next five years. However, the relative
importance of the three components is expected to change over time with the level of
resources going to component 3 increasing to 25% from 11% at present principally at the
expense of component 2.
Objective 2: The characterization of agroecological, societal and livelihood environments
faced by partners and farmers involved in rainfed wheat systems.
1. Better characterization of rainfed crop and livestock systems, and the use of the
information to target and monitor technology development goals
2. Risk assessment of potential adoption of new technologies and reoccurring
environmental and socio-economic stresses, in the context of livelihood security,
understood and quantified
Ten percent of the Program resources will be targeted at this objective. Again this is expected
to remain constant over the next five years. Of this 7-8% will go to component 1 and 2-3% to
component 2 with these levels of expenditure stable until 2009.
Objective 3: Strengthening of institutions, including CIMMYT and partnerships, to increase
capacity to contribute to CIMMYT's mission.
1. Increased capacity of partner and CIMMYT research activities achieved
2. Training of NARS increased in areas of specific need
3. Technology and information dissemination
4. Impact assessment
Twenty percent of the Program resources will be targeted at this third objective over the next
five years. Four percent of the resources will go to each of components 1, 3, and 4 and eight
percent to component 2. Commitments to these components are also expected to be stable
over the next five years.
4.5.2 Program Structure
In 2004, 24 scientists were involved in the Program contributing the equivalent of about 14
person years. The Program director and nine other scientists are located in the region,
principally in Turkey and Kazakhstan and other CWANA locations, while 14 scientists
involved in the Program are located in Mexico. Both headquarters and regional staff
contribute about 7 person years to the project.
Pre-existing Elements This Program was built around a number of ongoing projects, the
bulk of which are supported largely or entirely on special project funding, that were targeted
at the major production problems in areas dominated by rainfed wheat production systems.
In the area of germplasm development and breeding these included projects aimed at the
development of drought tolerant spring wheats, breeding for durable resistance leaf rust and
yellow rust, and the IWWIP.
New Elements Overall, there are only a limited number of new elements in the RFWS
Program. Since the bulk of the projects are supported by specials project funding, much of
the immediate research agenda is fixed. However, it is expected that a number of new
elements will be introduced over time as a result of new interactions with partners, new
proposals for special project funding, and as a result of CIMMYT's participation in the CPs.
These include greater emphasis on crop livestock systems with ILRI in SSA and SEA and
other partners in CWANA and greater emphasis on conservation tillage in wheat based
farming systems with NARS partners in CWANA. It also includes a greater emphasis on
wheat quality and seed systems which are an increasingly important priority for developing
counties in South Asia and CWANA. These new activities will result in a significant shift in
funds from wheat breeding, particularly the development of finished cultivars. It is
anticipated that as NARS grow stronger the emphasis in CIMMYT's Program will shift from
the provision of fixed lines to segregating populations.
4.5.3 Projected Outputs and Impacts
RFWS plans to deliver drought tolerant, input responsive, disease resistant wheat
germplasm and fixed lines including: Drought tolerant, disease resistant spring and winter
wheat cultivars and germplasm with enhanced value added traits; Cultivars tolerant to Zn-
deficient soils and soil-borne diseases; Combined Zn deficiency tolerance coupled with
elevated Zn concentration in the grain; Durable resistance to leaf and stripe or yellow rust
incorporated into a wide range of germplasm targeted at rainfed areas; Resistance to root
rots and nematodes combined in elite winter and spring wheat germplasm; Cultivars
adapted to zero-till conditions in a range of ecologies; and High altitude wheat cultivars for
Northern Kazakhstan and Siberia resistant to leaf rust with improved quality and high yield.
Outputs on RCTs include: No-till farming systems, crop rotations, residue retention, green
manure and appropriate machinery for use in conservation agriculture developed or
modified for smallholder farmers; The Program outputs also include: Crop diversification
and improved crop/livestock systems; Policy analysis and advocacy to foster market
development; and Institution and partnership capacity building including: Training courses
for NARS partners; Farmer participatory research, technology validation and dissemination;
Development of improved seed systems.
The projected impacts of this Program are expected to come through: Release and adoption
of improved bread and durum wheat, triticale, and maize cultivars that improve production
in rainfed wheat systems of the developing world; Increased sustainability of cropping
systems through adoption of RCTs together with varieties specifically adapted to them e.g.
wheat and maize varieties with increased drought tolerance, better nutritional quality and
durable pest and disease resistance; Increased on farm water productivity and soil fertility
by expanding cereal -legume rotations and diversifying crops and cropping systems;
Increased feed and fodder supplies for livestock and poultry systems; Improved nutritional
value of wheat and wheat products; and Strengthened research, human resource and
technology transfer capacity.
RFWS is a well targeted Program that focuses on the major constraints, drought, leaf and
root diseases, land degradation, micronutrient stresses, and end-use quality affecting the
livelihoods of smallholder farmers dependent on farming systems in which the major crop is
rainfed wheat. It builds on and strengthens the highly successful spring wheat Improvement
Program focused on drought, and the IWWIP. It is likely that this Program will produce
early and measurable impacts. For example, there are already 34 new winter wheats
scheduled for release in coming years. Similarly, the Program has exciting spring wheat
germplasm in the pipeline with improved seedling vigour, disease resistance and yield
However, the Panel identified several areas of concern or future challenges in relation to this
Program and these are discussed below. Some of these came from CCERs and others from
the visits to and interaction with CIMMYT staff and its regional offices during this EPMR.
4.5.5 Outstanding Issues and Future Challenges
18.104.22.168 CIMMYT-ICARDA Relationship
Program 4 operates extensively in the CWANA region, which is at the core of ICARDA's
mandate. The relationship between CIMMYT and ICARDA is therefore of critical importance
to the success of the Program. As highlighted in Chapter 7 relationships between CIMMYT
and ICARDA have deteriorated over the last two years. The CCER of CIMMYT's Wheat
Breeding Activities noted that it was "essential that both CIMMYT and ICARDA define their
own unique roles as well as rationalize each Center's collaborative role in wheat
improvement research in the CWANA region". A working group, involving senior scientific
and managerial staff of CIMMYT and ICARDA, met during February 8-11, 2005 in Amman,
Jordan to develop a joint matrix of CIMMYT and ICARDA wheat related activities in the
broader CWANA region as a first step in enhancing their relationship. The Panel regards this
as a positive step but urges CIMMYT to continue the rationalization and stabilization of its
relationship with ICARDA as a matter of the highest priority.
22.214.171.124 Succession Planning for Wheat Breeding Staff
The CCER of CIMMYT's Wheat Breeding Activities noted that following the significant
reduction in staff in the former Wheat Program in 2002/2003 (approximately 35% overall,
some 14 senior scientists) the critical mass required to continue wheat improvement at
CIMMYT was at an alarmingly low level. They also noted that the loss of one or two senior
staff at this point would have a very significant impact on CIMMYT's capacity to deliver its
planned outputs and impacts and further, there was no clear succession plan in place to
retain corporate knowledge if staffing changes did occur. This issue is particularly acute for
the RFWS, and has been exacerbated by further staff reductions in 2004. The response of
Management to the CCER Panel's concerns was non-specific, non-committal and
unconvincing. The issue remains unresolved and the Panel urges CIMMYT to address this
issue in a realistic manner or risk losing significant donor support.
126.96.36.199 Communication with CIMMYT partners
A number of CIMMYT partners, particularly in South Asia but in other areas as well, have
expressed deep concern about the level and strength of commitment to wheat breeding at
CIMMYT. This concern appears to have been generated by the rapidity and depth of the
budget cuts to the former wheat Program, particularly compared to maize, and the apparent
de-emphasis of wheat breeding in the new strategic plan. This concern also appears to have
deepened by the further staff changes that were announced immediately after the initial
phase of the EPMR in the second half of November 2004. CIMMYT depends crucially on
effective interactions with NARS and other regional partners. Many established links
between CIMMYT staff and their partner staff in the regions have been disrupted by the
change in staff profile and duties and it is critical that the new Program leaders re-establish
these links to maintain confidence. The EPMR Panel wishes to strongly reinforce the
recommendation of the CCER of CIMMYT's Wheat Breeding Activities that the new
Program directors should begin the task of meeting with all NARS and ARI customers and
partners to provide a communication bridge as CIMMYT moves forward to fully implement
its new mission statement and research Program.
188.8.131.52 Costing of the Components of the Wheat Improvement Program
The previous EPMR recommended CIMMYT develop a full costing of the components of its
Winter Cereal Improvement Program for two reasons. The first was to provide a basis for
CIMMYT to recover the full costs of research undertaken on restricted and special project
funding. It was obvious even at that time there was a clear trend in the CGIAR for
unrestricted funding to decrease, and to offset this, the Centers would need to move to cost
recovery from restricted and special project funding. The second was to provide a basis for
the breeders to make objective choices in terms of the incorporation of technologies such as
rapid backcrossing, double haploids, MAS and NIR for quality assessment in the Program.
The logic was that the total funding available to the Program was unlikely to increase
dramatically and hence, the routine incorporation of new technologies into the breeding
Program was only going to be accomplished by shifting resources from current activities to
new activities. To make these sorts of decisions in a timely and effective way requires
information on the relative costs of both the old and new technologies.
Seven years down the road and CIMMYT still does not have costings for many of the
components of its breeding activities. This is despite a very significant reduction of 35% in
the size of the wheat Program over the last 3 years and the obvious need to restructure and
reorganize the Program in line with the new structure. The Panel is of the view that the need
for an assessment of the full costing, and the charge back of those costings to restricted and
special projects where possible, for all services to research Program including the wheat
improvement activities in GRP, RFWS, and IAP (Intensive Agro-Ecosystems Program) is
now an absolute priority for CIMMYT management (see also Chapter 9).
184.108.40.206 Marker Assisted Selection
Marker assisted selection has a key role to play in the future breeding activities of both
wheat and maize. CIMMYT has slowly been increasing its capacity in the routine use of
molecular markers in wheat breeding and related research activities. Around 18,000 assays
were performed in 2003/2004 but the demand is expected to rise exponentially over the next
few years reaching 60,000 assays by 2006 and potentially several times that number by 2010.
CIMMYT has lagged behind other CGIAR Centers, as well as private breeding companies, in
increasing its capacity to service the rapidly growing needs of not only its wheat
improvement activities but those of its NARS partners. A similar situation applies to DNA
extractions. These can currently be performed at around 200-250 per day which the CCER
concluded was well below best practice. It is clear that CIMMYT needs to upgrade its DNA
extraction capability and develop a high throughput marker service laboratory dedicated to
meeting the needs of wheat and maize breeding as well as the associated research groups in
genetic resources. An issue for CIMMYT is whether it should be involved in marker
development or access markers developed by the many public and private institutions
involved in this area of research. The EPMR Panel feels that CIMMYT should leave the
development of markers to others and instead focus on their use in the development of
germplasm targeted at smallholder farmers except in those rare instances where markers are
not available or under development for a particular trait of high priority to CIMMYT.
CIMMYT also needs to keep a close watching brief on developments in high throughput
marker technology. New technologies are on the horizon which would, if they are
commercially successful, offer high throughput, low cost (10-20c/data point against current
cost of $1-2/data point) molecular marker applications in wheat improvement. Again
CIMMYT's prime interest will be the use, rather than the development, of these technologies
to enhance its wheat improvement activities once they have been shown to have application.
220.127.116.11 Enhancing the Rate of Production of Improved Winter Wheat Cultivars
The IWWIP, a joint venture between Turkey's Ministry of Agriculture, CIMMYT and
ICARDA, has been highly successful in developing improved winter wheat cultivars for the
CWANA region. However, it currently takes 12-15 years for IWWIP to breed a variety and
get it to farmers' fields, because the vernalisation requirement of winter and facultative
wheats limits the breeder to one generation per year. This contrasts sharply with their spring
wheat breeding counterparts in Mexico who use "shuttle breeding" between Toluca and
Obregon to routinely grow two generations per year, which not only enhances adaptability,
but halves the time taken to develop improved germplasm for distribution to their NARS
partners. However, the Panel felt that the strategies, based on the use of double haploids that
are available and are in use in commercial programs in developed countries to enhance the
rate of production of improved winter wheat cultivars, should be seriously considered for
implementation in the IWWIP.
4.6 Tropical Ecosystems
The Tropical Ecosystems Program (TES) emerged from and builds on the former Maize
Program, although activities in Africa have now been housed in ALP and the maize
germplasm bank and associated "pre-breeding" activities have been housed in the GRP.
4.6.1 Objectives and Priority Setting
The Program Goal is to: Improve the livelihoods of resource-poor farmers in the tropics by
increasing the productivity and profitability of farming systems that include maize (or
TES has two main objectives with a number of Components:
Objective 1. Farmers' livelihoods and well-being are improved by TES Program's products.
1. Improved maize varieties with stress tolerant and high quality
2. Development of appropriate crop management options
3. Development of methodologies for appropriate technologies
4. Documentation of the impact of technology
This objective is allocated 75 % of the total resources. Allocation of resources within
Objective 1 would be 51, 10, 25 and 14 % for the component 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively.
Objective 2. Capacity of others to contribute to our goal is enhanced.
1. Professional development opportunities
2. Promotion of partnerships
3. Information dissemination
This objective is allocated 25% of the total resources. Allocation of resources within Objective
2 would be 25, 45 and 30 % for the component 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively.
In the priority setting for this Program, the starting point was the new strategic plan
document "Seeds of Innovation", where the primary products of TES were defined as
"...high-yielding, stress-tolerant, nutrient-enhanced maize germplasm with resource-
With this in mind and via an iterative process, TES scientists developed the Program
logframe, which encompasses the objectives and component activities that appear above. The
logframe is an evolving, document but it is being used to set individual scientists' workplans
for 2005 and will be used in the future in assessing progress.
The other dimension to priority setting for TES was defining where the Program will focus
its efforts. Geographically, the TES mandate area is huge, including most of Latin America,
much of Southeast Asia, and a considerable area in South Asia (mainly tropics of India).
Some of TES efforts can be readily deployed to all its mandated regions and clients, for
example through international trials and by responding to seed requests for experimental
germplasm. To focus the Program's efforts where this was not the case, the "Resource
Allocation Tool" (RAT) was used. It was developed by CIMMYT scientists in connection
with the new strategic plan.
The RAT that deals with maize and wheat in Latin America and South and Southeast Asia is
based on a model, which emphasizes poverty and the importance of maize and wheat as a
food source. Priority countries within regions and globally are identified; 80% of TES's effort
should be targeted to South and Southeast Asia, especially Nepal, India, Indonesia and
Philippines; 20% in Latin America, especially Guatemala, Mexico and Haiti. Additional
factors are considered in priority setting in TES, such as strength and resources of the
national program (e.g. India is very strong, hence receives lower priority than suggested by
the RAT), and practical considerations (e.g. it is scarcely possible to work in Haiti due to
political instability). The RAT uses two key parameters: Importance and Poverty:
IMPORTANCE 1 = Agricultural Population SQRT (Per Capita Consumption of Maize or
Wheat (Maize or Wheat Area / Total Cropped Area).
POVERTY 1 = Human Poverty Index published by UNDP (squared). It is based on the adult
literacy rate, the probability of surviving to age 40, the proportion of children under the age
of 5 who are underweight, and the proportion of the population lacking improved water
Priority setting is further refined by reference to practical considerations, mainly funding
and staffing (in Southeast Asia there are only few CIMMYT staff), and "conducive"
conditions (e.g. capable/willing partners, security concerns, etc.).
4.6.2 Program Structure
TES scientists are heavily concentrated in Mexico (8 scientists), and there is a single
outposted scientist in each of Colombia, Nepal and Philippines.
Pre-existing elements The following incomplete list summarizes the "major" elements:
* Maize breeding, consisting of three breeding components: 1) lowland tropical; 2)
highland; and 3) acid soils (based at CIAT, Colombia). Each of these components works
both on QPM and "normal" maize and each develops both hybrid and open-pollinated
* Stress tolerance applied and basic research, consisting mainly of three components: 1)
pathology, focusing on developing "source" germplasm and support to maize breeders
to develop germplasm with enhanced resistance to primary diseases of maize; 2)
entomology, focusing on stem borer and post-harvest insect resistance; and 3)
physiology, focusing on drought, low soil nitrogen, and acid soil tolerance.
* Nutritional enhancement, mainly pro-vitamins A, Fe and Zn work, associated with the
HarvestPlus CP. This research was previously "based" at the CIMMYT Harare office, but
now has been moved to Mexico. Capacity in this area is still very limited, but will be
growing particularly with the arrival of a post-doctoral fellow in January 2005.
New elements The emerging or required (new) elements of TES include:
* Agronomy, "conservation" agriculture (e.g. reduced tillage), ecosystems analysis. TES
does not have any scientists with expertise in these areas, which are crucial to fulfilling
the new mandate. A TES physiologist is beginning some of the required conservation
agriculture work, but this is not his area of expertise. This is a major gap in the Program's
current capacity, and TES will need to secure expertise in these areas in the near future.
* Social science expertise, e.g. livelihoods analysis, poverty targeting, and pathways to
maximize impact on these. Two social scientists are assigned part-time to TES. CIMMYT
is strengthening this capacity within ITA, but it is questionable if the current
commitment will fulfil the needs of TES.
* Farmer-participatory research. This is not a new area for TES, but the current activity in
this area is low. Within the former Maize Program, the scientists in Africa were the most
experienced and active in this type of work, followed by the scientists in Nepal and
Ecuador. Recent/emerging efforts in Mexico in "allele introgression" are exciting and
need additional resources and efforts. In general, TES work in Asia and Latin America
needs to evolve methods that increase adoption of technologies and impact on resource-
poor farmers; farmer-participatory research often increases impact on risk-averse,
* Physical presence. TES urgently needs to increase its presence in Asia, where the
Program would like to allocate the majority of its resources (the RAT suggests 80%).
4.6.3 Projected Outputs and Impacts
Activity areas of TES include maize breeding, crop and system management, policy targeting
and inputs, technology transfer, and training. In the breeding Program, development of