Nearly 10 journalists visited CIMMYT El Batán on 12 August 2009 to learn about the center’s Conservation Agriculture (CA) Program and its partnership with the private company Monsanto. The two are working together to promote CA for highland maize farmers in Mexico. Bram Govaerts, CIMMYT cropping systems management specialist, gave a presentation on CIMMYT and CA followed by a visit to El Batán’s long term CA trials.
“CA is a water-saving technology,” Govaerts told the journalists. “In Mexico, it is relevant now more than ever as the country’s central area is having one of the severest droughts in its history.” The group then traveled to see CA in action on the field of local farmer Fernando Vergara, who is using the core CA principles of minimal soil movement, suitable crop rotations, and leaving crop residues on the soil. This visit corresponded with a farmer CA day already taking place on Vergara’s field. Farmers from different parts of the country were present and several took turns speaking with the media.