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Bolivia and CIMMYT partner to boost sustainable grain production

By Ricardo Curiel/CIMMYT 

Nemesia Achacollo, Bolivia’s Minister of Rural Development and Land, joined CIMMYT Director General Dr. Thomas A. Lumpkin in the lobby of the Borlaug building during her visit earlier this year. The two signed a scientific collaboration agreement to strengthen food security in the Andean country last week in Bolivia.

Bolivia became the first ¬†country in South America ¬†¬†to adopt the sustainable intensification strategy for agriculture that CIMMYT has used successfully in Mexico with the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture project (MasAgro), and in countries in Africa and Asia through similar projects. The project in Bolivia will develop new, high-yielding maize varieties adapted to the country‚Äôs growing conditions that will be commercialized by the local seed sector. The project also plans to develop and to transfer new technologies for sustainable farming practices based on conservation agriculture principles. ‚ÄúWhen combined, these factors account for higher and more stable yields, and contribute to mitigate agriculture‚Äôs impact on the environment,‚ÄĚ said CIMMYT Director General Dr. Thomas A. Lumpkin.

The agreement was signed during the ‚ÄúDay of Collaborative Evaluation of Maize Research‚ÄĚ organized by INIAF. Hans Mercado, INIAF Executive Director General, outlined the main activities planned for the three years of work that have been initially approved for the project. These include: analyses of ¬†commercial and family agriculture ¬†systems to improve their economic ¬†and ecologic performance; breeding ¬†of maize varieties adapted to ¬†Bolivia‚Äôs growing conditions; advice ¬†on the development of a seed ¬†production system that includes ¬†private and public players; and ¬†capacity building and training of ¬†human resources at different levels ¬†of specialization.

The ceremony was hosted by Bolivia’s Minister of Rural Development and Land, Nemesia  Achacollo, who announced an  investment of US$ 350,000 per year  in the rural development project.  She noted that the agreement was reached following her visit to CIMMYT earlier this year, when she had an opportunity to see and learn about MasAgro achievements in Mexico. Achacollo also stressed that INIAF had already introduced two maize hybrids developed by CIMMYT that yield seven tons per hectare, double the average yield obtained in Bolivia.

‚ÄúCIMMYT celebrates Bolivia‚Äôs vision and leadership in investing in research for rural development,‚ÄĚ said Lumpkin. ‚ÄúWe hope that more countries in the region will follow Bolivia‚Äôs example and adopt similar strategies to strengthen food and nutritional security while also protecting the environment.‚ÄĚ