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Hill Maize Research Project IV welcomes new leader

By K.C. Dilli /CIMMYT

The Hill Maize Research project (HMRP) commends the commitment, dedication and service of Guillermo Ortiz-Ferrara, who retired on 31 January after leading the project for nearly nine years.

Fondly known as “Memo,” Ortiz-Ferrara worked in Nepal for 17 years and led the project since it was in its second phase. HMRP, which was launched in 1999 and is now in its fourth phase, focuses on improving the food security and income of resource-poor farm households in the hills of Nepal by raising the productivity, sustainability and profitability of maize-based cropping systems. To date, HMRP IV has reached nearly 50,000 households in 20 hill districts.

Guillermo Ortiz-Ferrara, pictured with wife Lupita, is honored at a farewell party. Photo: K.C. Dilli

The project is jointly funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). CIMMYT implements the project in partnership with an array of public, private and semi-governmental organizations in Nepal. Principal public organization partners include the National Maize Research Program (NMRP) and Agriculture Research Stations (ARSs) under the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), the Crop Development Directorate (CDD), District Agriculture Development Offices (DADOs) and Regional Seed Testing Laboratories (RSTLs) under the Department of Agriculture (DoA), the Seed Quality Control Centre (SQCC) and the National Seed Board (NSB) under the Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD). Likewise, the project is collaborating with several NGOs, private seed companies, farmer organizations and agro-input traders to develop, test and disseminate high-yielding maize varieties and support seed production and marketing in the project’s focus districts.

Nirmal Gadal is the new leader of HMRP IV.

Ortiz-Ferrara has passed leadership to Nirmal Gadal, senior agronomist for HMRP IV. Nirmal worked for the Nepal MoAD for more than 14 years, from the grassroots to policy level. He is known for working effectively in multidisciplinary teams in both national and international settings. Nirmal is experienced and knowledgeable in the areas of seed system development, seed policy issues, crop management and partnership building and has contributed to HMRP since November 2009. As the HMRP-IV team leader, Nirmal will work in close coordination with partners and donors in Nepal along with CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program. The project wishes Ortiz-Ferrara a healthy and happy retirement and offers a hearty welcome to Nirmal.