This year, the traditional Zapopan green maize (elote) fair took place in Tesistán (Zapopan, Jalisco) on 23 August. It was preceded by the XVI State Maize Symposium, which occurred during 17-21 August. Both events hoped to demonstrate Zapopan’s leadership as a maize producer in Jalisco state, as well as promoting technology transfer, government aids, grain marketing and a sample of elote-based Mexican cuisine.
CIMMYT participated in the symposium through its Mexico-based conservation agriculture (CA) program, incorporating the Take it to the Farmer component of MasAgro. CA technician Silvia Hernández (pictured), from the Bajío hub, presented the benefits of the CA system and hub structure to attending producers and technicians, as well as describing a working model to implement sustainable crop management systems using CA.
Hernández said that the Bajío hub has a history of implementing CA through local collaborations in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, and recently Jalisco. This philosophy of collaboration is particularly important for Jalisco’s applicants to CIMMYT’s certified technician course for 2011/2012, who it is hoped will instigate CA and MasAgro in the state. If accepted to the course, technicians will have to establish two CA modules together with two cooperating farmers from the Bajío region during the year, to develop and demonstrate different sustainable technologies based on CA.
Other institutions present at the symposium were INIFAP, the Autonomous University of Chapingo, and Jalisco Produce Foundation, who presented the results of their recent maize studies. For MasAgro, this was the first opportunity to interact with local farmers from Zapopan, with lectures and elote products being used to provide further knowledge on new techniques and technologies for the farmers.