I am very happy to tell you that today is a very good day for all of us at CIMMYT. We have just been presented with the CGIAR’s highest recognition for science for development—the King Baudouin Award—here at the CGIAR AGM in Washington DC. The award has been given to us for our work on stress-tolerant maize in eastern and southern Africa. This is research that has a 20 year history at CIMMYT, starting with the selection of potential germplasm from the gene bank in the late 1980s and continuing through today with the very successful participatory selection work with farmers through the mother-baby trial system and the dissemination of stress-tolerant maize seed on a large sale by national programs, small-scale seed companies, and community-based organizations. The work is a fine example of how research-led development can enhance the livelihoods of the rural poor.
I want to use this message to congratulate Marianne Bänziger and the rest of the CIMMYT team who have worked so hard over the years to make a difference in Africa and also to recognize the amazing partnership of researchers, farmers, national agricultural research systems, and donors that led to the success of the project. Finally, I want to reinforce the fact that Marianne and I received the award not just on behalf of CIMMYT but on behalf of everyone who contributed to this successful work, which is based on long-term scientific efforts and effective partnerships with many collaborators. The work, of course, is not finished. It never is. But the recognition by the CGIAR is an important milestone of which we can be very proud.
The King Baudouin Award is presented every second year by the CGIAR and this is the second time in a row it has been given to the CIMMYT family (in 2004 the Rice Wheat Consortium, in which CIMMYT is a leading participant, was recognized). In the years between King Baudouin Awards, the highest science prize in the CGIAR is the one that recognizes the outstanding scientist in the system. In 2003 it went to Abdul Mujeeb Kazi and in 2005 to Ravi Singh. The quality of CIMMYT science has been recognized as best in the CGIAR for four consecutive years.
Once again let me offer, on behalf of the whole CIMMYT family, congratulations for the outstanding work and effective partnerships!