Agricultural research for development must reconcile approaches that place resource-poor farmers at the center, said CIMMYT’s new Director General addressing staff at CIMMYT headquarters near Mexico City on his first day in the new job.
“Our mission at CIMMYT is to use science and innovation to improve livelihoods, particularly in the developing world. Research projects must be centered on the impact in farmers’ fields,” said Kropff, who joined CIMMYT this week from Wageningen University and Research Center in the Netherlands, where he was Rector Magnificus and Vice Chairman of the Executive Board.
The world of agricultural research for development is changing; yields need to increase but increases alone are insufficient, added Kropff. A joint approach based on innovations in breeding, solid agronomy based on precision farming, systems research and innovations in the value chain are all essential to have the greatest impact in farmers’ fields, Kropff continued.
“CIMMYT’s scientific expertise is unparalleled in the public sector, with expertise in breeding, sustainable intensification, genomics, statistics and the social sciences,” Kropff said.
“CIMMYT is the flagship institute within the CGIAR and must be at the forefront of new reforms,” he said. One of his top priorities will be to align CIMMYT with the new CGIAR Strategic Results Framework and the CGIAR Research Programs (CRP reforms). The CGIAR is a 15-member consortium of international agricultural researchers of which CIMMYT is a member and leads the CRPs on MAIZE and WHEAT. Prior to joining CIMMYT, Kropff was member of the Consortium Board.
Standing with his wife, Nynke Nammensma, Kropff opened his address in Spanish to applause. “My job is to listen to you, and hear your vision for CIMMYT as we start a new phase of our journey together,” he said. “It’s important to have a direct connection with all staff and a visible presence”.