To get a ground-level idea of how Monsanto support for a CIMMYT-led effort to refine and promote conservation agriculture (CA) in Mexico benefits farmers, Monsanto staff joined staff from project co sponsor Asgrow, a Monsanto subsidiary in Mexico, for a visit to El Batán and CA project satellite sites on 17 July 2009.
“Sustainability is part of the Monsanto pledge,” said Manuel J. Bravo, Latin America Norte (LAN), strategy and new business lead for the company. “This project is a clear example of that.” The group chatted with DG Tom Lumpkin and also attended a demonstration of a GoogleEarth-based database for project sites in Central Mexico. The field visits elicited strong enthusiasm. “It was impressive to see the farmers when they have a chance to compare the two systems (CA and conventional practices),” said Bryan Corkal, Monsanto LAN finance lead.
How did the group view the chances for successful adoption of CA in Mexico? “It’s just a question of time,” said Bravo. “The product is there—the system, the savings— we just need to find efficient ways to disseminate the practices to more people in less time.” According to Corkal, a lot depends on farmers’ culture: “It was interesting to see young farmers in the presentations; they’re the ones who are going to adopt the new practices.”