DG Diary

Climate disasters are closing in. Why have we forgotten farmers?

by Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Martin Kropff November 22, 2017
A maize field is inundated by a flash flood in southern Bangladesh. Photo: M. Yusuf Ali/CIMMYT

Global climate change negotiators met at COP23 to tackle myriad issues, including how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and protect food and farming from worsening climate impacts. Technology such as drought- and heat-tolerant maize, resistant crops and control practices to combat newly-emerging pests, insurance to recover from extreme or erratic weather, and more targeted use of nitrogen fertilizers are already being adopted in Africa and Asia to reduce agriculture’s footprint while improving farm resilience and productivity.

Breakthroughs in agriculture for action on climate change

by Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Martin Kropff April 10, 2017
armers in Lushoto, in the Tanga region of Tanzania, are working with researchers to test different forage varieties like Brachiaria for yield and drought resilience.  CIAT/Georgina Smith

Climate change presents a formidable challenge as one of the biggest constraints to improving food systems, food security and poverty alleviation around the world, especially for the world’s most vulnerable people.

Healthy soils for a healthy, food secure future

by Martin Kropff December 5, 2016
Humanity relies on soils for food production. 95 percent of our food comes from soil. Healthy soils are vital for a healthy and food secure future. Photo: CIMMYT

Humanity relies on soils not only for food production but also for a range of vital ecosystem services, its health is essential to a healthy and food secure future.

Strategizing for the future: adapting to a changing agricultural landscape

by Martin Kropff October 21, 2016

Forging major change is never simple, but one of my top priorities upon taking the helm at CIMMYT as director general last year was to develop a new five-year institutional strategy.

Global wheat breeding returns billions in benefits but stable financing remains elusive

by Juergen Voegele, Martin Kropff April 27, 2016

What do a chapati, a matza, or couscous have in common? The answer is wheat, which is a source for one-fifth of the calories and protein consumed globally.

Amidst intense drought, investment in scientific research is key

by Martin Kropff February 22, 2016

El Niño drought-related stress is triggering hunger and food insecurity. Investment in scientific research is key to combating such events.

Is the next food crisis coming? Are we ready to respond?

by Martin Kropff January 3, 2016
A farmer in his barren field in Ethiopia, projected to become the most food insecure country in the world. Photo: Kyle DeGraw/Save The Children UK

One of the strongest El Niños on record is underway, threatening millions of agricultural livelihoods – and lives.

Agriculture can help the world meet climate change emission targets

by Martin Kropff December 11, 2015

Climate-smart agriculture could be the solution for farmers to both cope with the impacts of climate change and reduce emissions.



Director General Martin Kropff joined the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in 2015 from Wageningen University and Research Center (Wageningen UR) in the Netherlands, where he was president and vice chairman of the executive board for almost 10 years.

He earned undergraduate degrees in biology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and a Ph.D. in agricultural and environmental sciences at Wageningen.

From 1990 to 1995, Kropff was the systems agronomist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines where he led an international program with national agricultural research systems and Universities in nine Asian countries on systems research and simulation for rice production.

After 1995, he served successive roles at Wageningen UR, including as director general of the Plant Sciences Group and on the executive board. From 2013 to 2015, he was a member of the board of directors of the CGIAR, the 15-member consortium of international agricultural researchers to which CIMMYT and IRRI belong.