Last 25 July, more than 180 farmers and staff from CIMMYT and CORPOICA, Colombia’s agriculture research organization, gathered in the field of Isabel Cristina Cardenas at Los Palmitos, near Sincelejo, Sucre Department, Colombia, to celebrate the release of the new variety V-114. A product of CIMMYT research in Mexico, Thailand, Peru, and Colombia, and with key contributions from Colombian scientists in evaluation and promotion, V-114 was formerly known as Iquitos 9328 and was developed by Hugo Cordova, Carlos De Leon, Luis Narro and other CIMMYT staff, together with CORPOICA. CIMMYTs Asian Regional Maize Program also improved the variety’s resistance to downy mildew, an important disease of maize in this region of Colombia, prior to its introduction. CORPOICA staff at the ceremony included Paolo Bianchi, Director of the organization’s Turipaná Research Station, while CIMMYT was represented by Luis Narro and me.
Farmers at the field day listed for researchers some of their most highly-valued traits in an improved variety. These included low production costs, yields above 3 t/ha, suitability for use under zero-tillage and for intercropping with cassava, resistance to insect pests, and that the seed can be saved and replanted.
When asked about their experience growing V-114, farmers had the following comments:
- V-114 looks like a local variety (criollo) and they think it contains local germplasm because it has variation for kernel color (yellow to reddish) and cob shape. They like this as they associate it with stability and stress tolerance.
- Farmer Rigoberto Romero said that when he planted recycled seed of V-114 he obtained the same (good) performance from the second crop as he obtained in the first season, when he planted official (‘certified’) seed.
- Farmer Silvio Tovar said that he planted 5 kg of seed as an intercrop with cassava, and harvested 1 ton of maize (equivalent to more than 4 t/ha).
The field day was a celebration of several years of work by CIMMYT and CORPOICA scientists, and a couple years of participatory evaluation work with farmers. It was a pleasure to see the excellent interaction between CORPOICA extension staff and farmers, who exchanged sincere questions, important advice, and quite a few jokes. In addition to lunch, each farmer at the field day was given 5 kg of seed of V-114.