Anniversary Blog 50

Building a sustainable future: A history of conservation agriculture in southern Africa

by Christian Thierfelder, Johnson Siamachira June 23, 2016
Drought is increasingly common in Malawi, leaving an estimated three million people in need of urgent humanitarian food assistance this year alone. However, a fortunate few will escape hunger, including more than 400 farmers and their families in Balaka, southern Malawi, who have been practicing CA over the last 12 years. "Few farmers have livestock in Balaka, so crop residues can be kept on the fields instead of feeding them to cattle," according to Thierfelder, who says Malawi presents a good case for conservation agriculture. CIMMYT and its strategic development partner Total LandCare have helped more than 65,000 farmers adopt CA systems throughout the entire country. Above, SIMLESA lead farmer Agnes Sendeza harvests maize ears on her farm in Tembwe, Salima District, Malawi. Photo: Peter Lowe/CIMMYT

Since 2004, conservation agriculture has helped farmers in southern Africa maintain and boost yields, protect the environment and increase profits.

From A to Z: Developing nutritious maize and wheat at CIMMYT for 50 years

by Julie Mollins June 5, 2016
Some of the thousands of samples that make up the maize active collection in the Wellhausen-Anderson Plant Genetic Resources Center at CIMMYT's El Batan headquarters, Mexico. CIMMYT/Xochiquetzal Fonseca

Over the past 50 years, various research activities have been undertaken to boost protein quality and micronutrient levels in maize and wheat to help improve nutrition in poor communities.

Drought tolerant maize: Long-run science, investments, and partnerships pay off in Africa

by Mike Listman March 14, 2016
New hybrid helps farmers beat drought in Tanzania. With seed of a maize hybrid developed by the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project and marketed by the company Meru Agro Tours and Consultant Limited, Valeria Pantaleo, a 47-year-old farmer and mother of four from Olkalili village, northern Tanzania, harvested enough grain from a 0.5-hectare plot in 2015 to feed her family and, with the surplus, to purchase an ox calf for plowing, despite the very poor rains that season. “I got so much harvest and yet I planted this seed very late and with no fertilizer,” said Pantaleo, who was happy and surprised. “I finally managed to buy a calf to replace my two oxen that died at the beginning of the year due to a strange disease.” In 2015 Meru Agro sold 427 tons of seed of the hybrid, HB513, known locally as “ngamia,” Kiswahili for “camel,” in recognition of its resilience under dry conditions. The company plans to put more than 1,000 tons of seed on the market in 2016.

To read more about how ngamia helped Olkalili farmers beat the drought, click here. (Photo credit: Brenda Wawa/CIMMYT)

Before climate change became a hot topic, the U.N. Development Programme provided funding for a team of scientists in Mexico to find a better way to breed resilient maize for farmers in drought-prone tropical areas.

At 50-year mark, CIMMYT scientists strive for gender equity

by Julie Mollins March 8, 2016

Efforts to meet agricultural needs of women farmers to bolster global food security took shape in CIMMYT’s early days.

From east Asia to south Asia, via Mexico: how one gene changed the course of history

by Miriam Shindler January 3, 2016
Borlaug Training Field 1960s

The story of how Japanese wheat variety Norin 10 saved millions from starvation and revolutionized the world of wheat.