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The pen shows its might at CIMMYT

November, 2004

A group of 14 Mexican journalists visited CIMMYT’s research station at El Batán, Mexico, on 17 November, for an introduction to center activities and field, seed bank, and laboratory tours. Coming at the invitation of CIMMYT and the Mexican public relations firm, Arvizu Communications, the visitors included correspondents from leading Mexico City dailies and several agricultural periodicals. Presentations covered the center and partners’ work in conservation agriculture, the conservation and use of crop genetic diversity, and biotechnology. Particular interest centered on CIMMYT’s research in transgenics, in the context of media reports of transgenic maize in the Mexican countryside. In a wrap-up with the group, CIMMYT research director John Dodds and a diverse group of scientific staff emphasized that genetic engineering is a small portion of the center’s total research portfolio—roughly 0.5%. “CIMMYT engages in limited work with GMO technology because of the potentially important benefits to small-scale farmers in the developing world,” Dodds explains. “Ultimately, the decision whether to use GM crops or not is up to each nation.”