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Mexico: early adopters of MasAgro technologies show their achievements

By Brenna Goth, CIMMYT

Masagro2Husband-and-wife duo Oscar Hernández Mendoza and Rosa Elena Montiel Díaz said their work with MasAgro helps them improve the lives of farmers in their town. The two made a presentation about their efforts in Úrsulo Galván, Veracruz, on 29 August during CIMMYT’s first symposium for MasAgro experimental platforms. MasAgro, or the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture, is a CIMMYT program coordinated with Mexico’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries, and Food (SAGARPA).

MasAgro aims to help small-scale farmers implement sustainable farming practices and introduce new technology to help increase their maize and wheat yields. The symposium brought together more than 50 collaborators from different parts of Mexico who are working with MasAgro to increase sustainability, improve yield and lower costs for small-scale farmers. Attendees at the El Batán event saw posters on the various projects and talked with the collaborators about their results. “It has been an opportunity for them to exchange their work,” said Yesenia Soto, who works in training for MasAgro. Posters explained outcomes and future plans from Morelos, Oaxaca, Sonora and Yucatán and other states with crops ranging from maize and wheat to chia and beans. Hernández and Montiel, founders of Grupo Hernádez Montiel, are working with MasAgro to bring new technology to their region and raise maize yields by training farmers. So far, the group has been successful in helping farmers produce more, Hernández said. “We can’t work alone,” he said. “It’s for our people, our producers.”

Masagro1Jesús Rafael Valenzuela Borbón came to the symposium from Navojoa, in southern Sonora. He is trying to bring conservation agriculture practices to farmers in an area where the main problem is a lack of water. Valenzuela is in charge of an experimental site where he is growing maize and wheat using crop rotation. Use of such practices in the area is minimal, though Valenzuela is looking for support to implement them more widely, he explained. “All of the results are very favorable,” he said.