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India breeders choose outstanding maize from CIMMYT

Immediately upon his return after Science Week on 10 March 2008, P.H. Zaidi, breeder in CIMMYT’s global maize program, led a field day on ICRISAT’s campus in Hyderabad, India, that was attended by some 70 maize scientists from India’s public and private sectors. Dr. Sain Dass, Director of India’s Directorate for Maize Research (DMR), leader of the Indian Maize Program, and a visiting scientist at CIMMYT in 1996 and 2004, along with several DMR colleagues, participated. “Dr. Dass was delighted to see our ongoing activities, especially on QPM and drought stress tolerance,” says Zaidi. “There were about 25 scientists from SAU’s maize program and 30 scientists from private seed companies. After a brief introduction about breeding activities in our Asian regional maize program, participants toured maize germplasm nurseries and selected the best entries as per their own requirements. Among other outcomes, we obtained lists of breeder selections from a nursery we sent them.”

Also contributing to the success of the event were Mehraj UdDin, CIMMYT-India research assistant who received CIMMYT’s 2007 Most Valuable Employee Award, and Gaurav Yadav, also of CIMMYT-India and associated with the Rice-Wheat Consortium (RWC) for the Indo-Gangetic Plains. “Apart from the germplasm we are working on here, there was lot interest in the speciality corn,” says Zaidi. “Many partners suggested circulating a form to collect views and prioritize the emerging germplasm requirements in the region. We are working on developing a form for collecting this feedback, so that our products will be truly demand-driven.”