The growing importance of natural resource management in agriculture requires a reversal of current resource degradation in key areas. Climate change is raising temperatures, changing weather patterns in ways that accentuate extremes like flooding and drought. Water resources for irrigated agriculture are becoming scarce. In a positive vein, research increasingly points up the potential for significant productivity gains through improved farming practices.

Conservation agriculture is a set of principles that build on systems agronomy research developed by CIMMYT and partners around the world, particularly on cropping methods that simultaneously boost productivity and reduce resource degradation in cropping systems that include maize or wheat. Through partnerships with national agricultural research systems, agri-business, and other CGIAR centers, CIMMYT works toward an ultimate vision of widespread use of sustainable systems by smallholder wheat and maize farmers, based on the principles of conservation agriculture. The aim is to improve rural incomes and livelihoods through sustainable management of agro-ecosystem productivity and diversity – while minimizing unfavorable environmental impacts.


Resource conservation technologies for maize and wheat cropping systems

In partnership with national agricultural research systems, non-government organizations, agri-business, and international centers, CIMMYT undertakes research on conservation agriculture and resource conserving technologies for wheat and maize cropping systems.

Sowing conservation agriculture in northern Mexico

With help from CIMMYT and through direct demonstrations for farmers, conservation agriculture practices are spreading from farmer to farmer in the Yaqui Valley, Sonora State, northwestern Mexico.

Hungry sheep and conservation agriculture in Mexico

A recent intensive course at CIMMYT’s Toluca experiment station in central Mexico shows researchers and extension workers the real-life complexities of conservation agriculture for rainfed maize farming.

Conservation by the numbers: Reducing genetic drift in crop gene bank collections

CIMMYT’s biometrics team receives special recognition for advancing the science behind crop genetic resource conservation.

Clarion Call to Conservation in Mexico

Farmers in Michoacán state, south-central Mexico, are moving toward conservation agriculture.
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