Global importance

Maize is the most widely grown crop in the Americas, with 70-100 million acres grown annually in the US alone, accounting for nearly 40% of the all maize grown in the world. It is a versatile crop, and can be grown in a number of different environments; it is grown on every continent except Antarctica. Maize is also higher yielding than many other grains – its average yield is 160 bushels per acre but it can reach over 300 bushels per acre (27 tons per hectare) - and therefore often less expensive. Together with wheat and rice, maize is one of the three most important crops in the world.

Although it is not native to Africa, it has become an important crop there, too, due to its nutritional qualities and ease of cultivation. Now it is the most widely grown staple crop for over 300 million Africans, as well as crucial in Latin America.