||Given a choice, most people would not wish to confront the challenges that govern the lives of small-scale farmers in southern Africa. In this region, which has the most erratic growing conditions on earth, crop failures are a continuous setback to development. In one season they can eradicate several years of investment of scarce resources by farmers, the private sector, and governments alike. The natural resource endowment for farming is generally poor, and there are few alternatives to making a living from agriculture. In these circumstances, crop failures give poverty a firm grip on farming families and deprive them of options to improve their livelihood. By focusing on how the adverse environment affects maize, the most important crop in southern Africa, the Southern African Drought and Low Soil Fertility Project (SADLF) goes right to the core of the problem. Exciting research achievements, a regional community of dedicated researchers, and innovative partnerships with NGOs, the private sector, and farming communities have catalyzed a revolution in the smallholder maize seed sector in southern Africa. We document the SADLF Project's accomplishments here in the belief that they merit the CGIAR King Baudouin Award. For an overview of impact, see "Restoring the Balance".