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Seed production course at El Batán

As part of a project conducted by CIMMYT, the USDA and Mexico’s Agriculture Ministry, SAGARPA, 40 researchers, extension agents, and maize specialists participated in a training course on seed production technologies at El Batán. Among the participants were researchers from Mexican federal, state, and local research institutions, and from ARIs such as ICAMEX, INIFAP, CP, among others, as well as from small local seed companies and farmer groups.

The course was coordinated by Silverio García, Hugo Córdova and Gary Atlin from CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program.

“The high costs of maize seed and complex end-uses of maize are two factors that hinder the adoption of improved varieties in Mexico’s central highlands,” said Atlin. “Therefore, it is important that participants in this production chain, particularly farmer groups and small businesses, become familiar with methods that lower costs without sacrificing quality.” Other course subjects included agronomic and storage practices, pest management, seed production site selection, and participative production.

Atlin said that, as a follow-up to this training course, farmer visits are being planned to trials on improved varieties and landraces with special traits at 30 locations, in collaboration with INIFAP, SEDAGRO, ICAMEX, CP, small businesses, and farmer groups. These activities will allow researchers to become familiar with farmers’ preferences and, at the same time, gather data on agronomic performance and grain quality, compare the advantages of improved varieties versus landraces, and select landraces for large-scale production.