Bram Govaerts, associate director of the Global Conservation Agriculture Program (GCAP) and leader of the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture (MasAgro) program, made a presentation on the future prognosis of food security and the actions that must be taken to achieve it at the Prospectiva del Mundo (World Prospective) Mexico 2015 conference on 25 June. The conference, organized by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Mexican chapter of the World Future Society, brought together national and international experts in fields such as development, education, finance and agriculture.
As part of his plan for working with Mexico, CIMMYT’s host country, on 24 June Director General Martin Kropff held an introductory meeting with Senator Manuel Cota, leader of Mexico’s National Peasant Confederation (Confederación Nacional Campesina/CNC), an organization comprising more than five million smallholder farmers. Sustainable development and scientific innovation were some of the key issues discussed.
A delegation of 15 Nepalese seed entrepreneurs learned about various business models and innovations for seed industry development on their first visit to India. The visit, sponsored by the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia in Nepal (CSISA-NP), lasted from 1 to 10 June.
During Science Week (15-18 June) held at CIMMYT headquarters in El Batán, Mexico, scientists from around the world gathered to share the successes and review the activities of different CIMMYT programs. Attendees sought to find solutions to help meet global food needs related to basic cereals, as well as combat poverty and face the challenges posed by climate change.
Which competing trend will win out in the end?
Across Ethiopia, farmers bring a different dimension to the age-old tradition of naming children in symbolic and meaningful ways, by assigning a human name to Quality Protein Maize (QPM) that reflects its importance. In some parts of Oromia region, QPM is known as Gabissa, meaning builder, because it is believed to build bodies and make people strong. In the Amhara region, it is known as ‘Almi Bekolo’ or ‘Gembi bekolo, both names meaning building the body. QPM has gained its fame across Ethiopia, as an affordable and viable option to alleviate protein malnutrition and reduce animal feed costs thanks to the CIMMYT’s Nutritious Maize for Ethiopia (NuME) project and many national partners.
Though its name implies science fiction, Skywalker’s results have been incredibly real. A small, unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with remote sensing devices, Skywalker flies over maize fields collecting images and data. It is able to measure several hundred plots in one take. Spectral reflectance and thermal imagery cameras on its wings allow scientists to conduct non-destructive screening of plant physiological properties such as crop growth and water use, at enough resolution to obtain information at plot level.
The Wheat Productivity Enhancement Program (WPEP) in Pakistan, led by CIMMYT and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is working to enhance and protect wheat productivity in Pakistan by supporting research leading to the identification, adoption and optimal agronomic management of new, high yielding, disease resistant wheat varieties.
The Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) and CIMMYT organized a training course on developing stress tolerant maize at BARI facilities in Gazipur, Joydebpur, Bangladesh, on 21 April 2015. The course, part of CIMMYT’s Heat Tolerant Maize for Asia (HTMA) project supported by the United States Agency for International Development under its Feed the Future initiative, gave maize scientists the opportunity to learn the principles, tools and techniques involved in developing high yielding maize hybrids with enhanced tolerance to major abiotic stresses such as drought and heat, as well as how to effectively deploy them.
The International Conference on MLN Diagnostics and Management in Africa, held on 12-14 May 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya, is the second meeting CIMMYT has organized this year on maize lethal necrosis (MLN), coming soon after an MLN diagnostics and screening workshop held in March. This points up how important the disease is to the entire CIMMYT fraternity in Africa.
An international conservation agriculture (CA) workshop to be held during China Science Week (30 June–4 July 2015) will bring CIMMYT CA researchers, colleagues and national researchers together with the objective of building agro-ecological capacity among researchers in western China. At the workshop, hosted by CIMMYT-China, participants will discuss subjects such as CA successes and the science and practical agronomy underpinning CA, and will view field displays of CA benefits.
A workshop to select case studies in Nepal for the Global Study on Gender Norms and Capacities for Agricultural Innovation was hosted by CIMMYT on 3 June 2015. This was the first meeting held by CIMMYT-Nepal since the devastating earthquake that hit the country in April, reaffirming staff commitment to continuing research despite the challenges and losses being faced across the country.
Twenty-two scientists, engineers, technicians and local manufacturers of agricultural machinery working in and with CIMMYT participated in an Agro-machinery Professionals’ Jamboree held in Jhenaidah District, Bangladesh, 27-30 April 2015. The objective of the Jamboree was to acquaint participants with agro-machinery such as seeders and reapers and develop their troubleshooting and operating skills. Participants shared their experiences and the challenges they face in the field, and brainstormed solutions together.