The growing importance of natural resource management in agriculture requires a reversal of current resource degradation in key areas. Climate change is raising temperatures and 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 to 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 goals are to improve rural incomes and livelihoods through sustainable management of agro-ecosystem productivity and diversity while minimizing unfavorable environmental impacts.

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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.

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.