Luz Paola López, Sustainable Intensification Program for Latin America
The “Impactos #4MasAgro” communications campaign that CIMMYT’s Sustainable Intensification Program for Latin America conducted from 23 September-1 December in Mexico, published the results that the MasAgro initiative has obtained during the four years it has been operating in farmers’ fields in Mexico.
One of the campaign’s objectives was to promote MasAgro as an inclusive farm production model and position Mexico as a disseminator of agricultural technology that seeks to achieve global prosperity and food security. Among the impacts publicized in the campaign were:
- The National Agricultural and Livestock Survey indicated that between 2012 and 2014, conservation agriculture increased by 12%, while crop rotation increased by 7.2%; both were actively promoted by MasAgro.
- According to Mexico’s Agricultural and Livestock Information Service, in 2014 the average maize yield in temperate regions was 2.39 t/ha, while in MasAgro’s areas of influence, it was 4 t/ha.
- The income of maize farmers who participate in MasAgro increased 9-31%, while wheat farmers’ income increased up to 25%.
- Forty-two national seed companies that work with MasAgro Maize now hold 28% of the improved maize seed market.
- MasAgro’s improved seed, technologies, and sustainable cropping practices have been adopted on 440,000 ha, and MasAgro has had indirect impact on 1 million ha through training, field events, etc.
- Nine Mexican students have received scholarships and trained to obtain Ph.Ds. in wheat physiology at universities in Australia, Chile, the US, and the UK.
- A Maize and Wheat Molecular Atlas has been developed that contains maps showing the characteristics (soil type, climate, and adaptation) of sites where native landraces have been collected, along with demographic information (race, use, and productivity), and space, time, and genetic distances.
The campaign became known in social networks through the hashtag #4MasAgro, which had 3,468,237 hits. We also used our own publications, such as the EnlACe Bulletin, which published 11 special issues, and MasAgro Móvil, which sent out 6,214 messages on impacts to its users. In addition, 34 articles were published in Mexican newspapers and news sites, 9 interviews were broadcast over the radio and 2 on television, with an estimated audience of 2,843,345.
There’s no doubt that the campaign’s success was due to the participation of MasAgro collaborators, given that institutions, farmers, scientists, and extension agents took up the messages and spread them through social networks, at meetings and other events. In conclusion, “Impactos #4MasAgro” is a great example of a team working to communicate agricultural innovations.