On 12 January 2012, the State of Mexico signed an agreement to align its agricultural policies with MasAgro (Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture), an initiative fostered by the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fishing and Food (SAGARPA, by its Spanish acronym) and CIMMYT. MasAgro aims to sustainably increase the outputs of basic food grains, mainly maize and wheat, deal with climate change effects in rural areas and ensure food security in Mexico.
The ceremony took place in the state capital, Toluca, and was chaired by Eruviel Ávila Villegas, Governor of the State of Mexico. Also in attendance was SAGARPA’s Francisco Mayorga Castañeda, Mariano Ruiz Funes, Undersecretary of Agriculture, Thomas Lumpkin, Director General of CIMMYT, Bram Govaerts, leader of MasAgro’s Take it to the Farmer component, and Heriberto Ortega Ramírez, Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock Development in the State of Mexico.
Secretary Mayorga said that, one year after its launch, MasAgro’s extension covers an area of more than 20,000 hectares in 16 Mexican states, and that the State of Mexico has had a fundamental role in the process. So far, the State of Mexico already has five research platforms, 13 demonstration modules and an extension area of 113 hectares. He added that these results will be presented during the 2012 G-20 meetings in Mexico.
Bram Govaerts highlighted the fact that collaborative research and work by CIMMYT with farmers and scientists from the State of Mexico laid the foundation for MasAgro’s development. More than 40 years ago CIMMYT established its headquarters in Texcoco, and has also an experiment station in Toluca, both important localities of the State. Throughout these years, CIMMYT has multiplied its collaboration with important agricultural research and education centers in the highlands region.
Govaerts added that capacity building is an essential component of the strategy and there are seven agronomists from the State of Mexico taking MasAgro’s 2011-12 conservation agriculture certified technician course. Once graduated, these experts, along with technicians from other programs aligned with the strategy, will provide technical advice to farmers, to increase MasAgro’s extension area in the region.