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Communicating CA among stakeholders in Mexico

The “Second Week of Conservation Agriculture (CA),” in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, which ran from 28 May to 03 June 2010, consisted of a series of activities coordinated by the CA-Mexico team to encourage communication among farmers who have adopted CA techniques, authorities, and members of organizations that support CA.

Communication panels with farmers and tractor drivers, an awareness event about the negative effects of burning field residues, and a day of maize harvesting were all designed for participants to share experiences and learn more about CA. There was also an official ceremony that included farmers, various authorities, engineers, researchers, and representatives of the private sector.

Bram Govaerts and María Cárdenas of the CA program both gave presentations on sustainable agriculture. Govaerts explained the basics of CA and the results obtained so far from using it, while Cárdenas gave a report on the use of the GreenSeeker technology. These presentations were followed by a day spent at local modules, which are plots owned by farmers who have adopted CA. Participants also saw experiments that compared CA productivity and profitability with traditional agricultural practices.

180The events were covered by local press and television channels. One topic that generated a lot of interested was stubble burning. The demonstration burning was performed at the Norman E. Borlaug Experiment Station (CENEB) in long-term, experimental plots to show the negative effects this practice has on the environment. This activity was made possible with the permission of the Environmental Management Department of Ciudad Obregón. CA team member Jesús Mendoza gave several interviews on this subject.

The “Second CA Week” was an initiative of CIMMYT; the Mexican National Institute of Forestry, Agriculture, and Livestock (INIFAP); Mexico’s national wheat marketer’s organization (CONATRIGO); Patronato for Research and Agricultural Experimentation of the State of Sonora (PIEAES); the Association of Agriculture Organizations of Southern Sonora (AOASS); the CIMMYT-ASGROW project; and several other institutions interested in promoting sustainable farming techniques.

During the week, Antonio Gándara Aztiazarán, president of the PIEAES southern zone, announced that for the 2010-11 crop cycle his organization will begin to use CA in one of their seed multiplying plots. The plan is to start in an experimental area, and then expand after gaining experience.