Grown on every continent in the world, except Antartica.
Ancient diversity that would be familiar to an Aztec or Inca farmer still ripens in the fields in countries like Mexico, Guatemala and Peru. More recently – in relative terms – the highly productive cereal was adopted in a big way by African farmers, who depend on it as a food security crop central to many a local cuisine. In Southeast Asia it’s harvested on a large scale and is indispensable to farmers of poultry and livestock. While something of an invisible crop in the region, it’s quietly become the second most grown cereal here after rice.
Since maize can be found just about everywhere, we tasked the photographers with doing just that. Maize is a highly industrialized crop in many countries and has picked up a reputation for uniformity. As the images here will show, that’s far from the whole story.