About 17 people from the American Confederation of Associations in Sustainable Agriculture (CAAPAS, by its Portuguese acronym) visited El Batán on 23 July 2009. The group visited CIMMYT as part of their international meeting on direct seeding and sustainable agriculture.
Hans Braun, director of CIMMYT’s global wheat program, officially welcomed CAAPAS to the center. Ken Sayre, conservation agriculture (CA) specialist, then spoke to participants about CIMMYT’s CA program. He was followed by Petr Kosina, knowledge, information, and training manager, who informed them about the center’s origins, mission, and research focus. As well, Bram Govaerts, cropping systems management specialist, showed the group CIMMYT’s long-term CA trials in the field.
“It was a good opportunity to meet some new people interested in conservation agriculture,” said Sayre. “CIMMYT may work with a group like this in the future if there is money to support such collaboration.” After the morning’s presentations, there was a lively debate on the definition of CA and CA practices in different areas.
Ivo Mello, CAAPAS president, spoke about ‘quality zero-tillage.’ “We have to do what is necessary to respect the soil, conserve microorganisms and worms, etc., that aid crop production,” he said. “We must eliminate the use of chemicals and strive for soils with biological equilibrium, which is not going again nature.”