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Monsanto-Mexico delegation visits El Batán

A delegation from Monsanto-Mexico visited CIMMYT El Batán on 30 October 2008 to discuss CIMMYT-ASGROW joint efforts to disseminate conservation agriculture (CA) for maize in Mexican highlands. This effort is part of the rainfed maize CA hub in development in central Mexico which is one of several hubs that CIMMYT is using to promote and adapt CA practices for different farming systems and agro-ecological zones in Mexico. ASGROW is a subsidiary of Monsanto that sells hybrid seed.

“CIMMYT offers CA technologies to farmers in central Mexico in part through ASGROW’s network of technicians and seed and implement distributors,” explains Bram Govaerts, cropping systems management specialist. During the meeting partners updated each other on the project, discussed possible funding for other CA hubs in Mexico, and explored opportunities for joint research in the future, he says.

During the visit, CIMMYT DG Tom Lumpkin and Govaerts gave a presentation on the center’s work and its collaboration with Monsanto. The company’s delegation included Dr. Jesús Eduardo Pérez Pico, director of technology development and regulatory issues for northern Latin America; Angela María Bastidas, technology development and stewardship for the Andean region; Ernesto Alegrette, commercial manager at ASGROW; and Eduardo Vega, distribution representative. The group visited the longterm CA sustainability trial (D5) and Bibiana Espinoza, principal research assistant of the Genetic Resources and Enhancement Unit, gave them a tour of the germplasm bank.

“Results from our collaboration with CIMMYT in the high valleys are very encouraging and we look forward to continuing to support this effort for farmers to adopt conservation tillage practices and increase corn productivity,” says Dr. Jesús Eduardo Pérez Pico. “Likewise we will look for opportunities to expand our collaboration with CIMMYT in the northwest of Mexico.”

The rainfed maize-based hub in the highlands is in full swing and enables public and private players to come together to promote CA, says Govaerts. “We have implemented 25 CA modules on farmers’ fields all over central Mexico and have given several courses on CA to local farmers, technicians, and other actors of the maize production chain,” he says, adding that they are always looking for partners to strengthen the CA hubs.