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Field day of the International Maize Improvement Consortium for Asia

On 13 March 2012, the first field day of the International Maize Improvement Consortium–Asia (IMIC-Asia) was held. The meeting, organized by CIMMYT-Asia and held at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), welcomed 50 participants from 26 national, regional, and multinational seed organizations.

B.S. Vivek, CIMMYT-Asia senior maize breeder, started the day with a warm welcome and a brief overview of the field demonstrations of maize materials. The participants then made field selections of those that interested them. The afternoon session started with Vivek detailing the progress made in IMIC-Asia since the consortium began in 1 July 2010. P.H. Zaidi, CIMMYT-Asia senior maize physiologist, then coordinated a discussion on priority traits and locations for IMIC hybrid evaluations. The meeting concluded with members giving their impressions of the field day and suggestions to further strengthen IMIC activities. They expressed their appreciation of CIMMYT’s efforts and the progress already made. They were confident that it would serve as a platform for strengthening their maize breeding programs and their product portfolios.

The consortium approach has been adopted to enable partnerships between CIMMYT and private seed companies to facilitate the development and testing of inbred and hybrid maize, and for training of maize breeders. Some of the underlying principles include client determined research prioritization; a more focused, demand-driven approach; and an engagement where partner accountability is better defined. This mode of operation with partners is expected to have a targeted impact on agricultural productivity and poverty.