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Planning for a hybrid maize research consortium

CIMMYT-Asia held an awareness meeting on 19 March 2010 for a proposed hybrid maize research consortium. Nearly 50 participants from national, regional, and multinational seed companies attended, representing 37 seed companies. The goal of the meeting and the consortium is to form new private-public partnerships for enhanced utilization of maize germplasm.

The morning session included an introduction and outline of meeting objectives and research priorities by B. Vivek, senior maize breeder, and P.H. Zaidi, maize physiologist. Proposed project activities included 1) germplasm development for collaborator-identified target environments and priorities, with resulting germplasm to be made available to seed companies; 2) training, including implementation of software for data and pedigree management; and 3) a hybrid testing network for India and the Asian region.

The participants then visited the breeding nurseries and trials to see the variety of germplasm available through CIMMYT-Asia. In the afternoon, participants prioritized their target environments and traits and shared suggestions for how the consortium should operate. “The deliberations during today’s planning meeting for a maize consortium went well, and had a very encouraging tone,” said N.P. Sarma, director of Research & Development, Kaveri Seed Company. “We all appreciate your efforts in conceptualizing the consortium approach for an important crop like maize, and look forward for the next meeting.”

Consortium planners have set a tentative launch date of 28 May 2010.