IMAS Technical Staff Undergo Training to Manage Risks During Confined Field Trials

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Africa, Maize

By Florence Sipalla/CIMMYT

Ten members of the technical staff from the Improved Maize for African Soils (IMAS) project joined their counterparts from the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project for training in managing risks during confined field trials (CFTs) —both projects funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Participants learned how to minimize the risk of disseminating materials under analysis into feed and food pathways. Emphasis was placed on spatial and temporal separation of the flowering parts of plants, to ensure they do not move outside the CFT. Incinerating all materials after the collection of trial results was also emphasized. IMAS staff participated in the course to help them prepare for the mock trials that will be carried out later this year at IMAS CFTs in Kiboko and Kitale, Kenya.

IMAS Group

Ten members of the technical staff from the Improved Maize for African Soils project joined their counterparts from the Water Efficient Maize for Africa project for training in managing risks during confined field trials.

The training served as a refresher course in the standard operating procedures and protocols outlined by the National Biosafety Authority (NBA). Dr. Joseph Gichuki, head of biotechnology at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), explained the key steps in operating a CFT: the application process, conducting an experiment, the NBA review process, receiving trial material and storage. He also stressed the importance of closely monitoring the movement of trial materials, storage of materials and disposal facilities.

Participants learned the importance of record keeping of all activities in the CFT: planting, storage, special isolation, flowering, whether the crop should be destroyed after flowering and early destruction once the data required has been collected. Postharvest data collection was also discussed, including the need to record if there are volunteer crops after harvest and when they are removed.

Participants marked the field during the practical segment of the training session.

Participants marked the field during the practical segment of the training session.

The workshop ended with a practical session. Participants planted an event that is under trial by the WEMA team being led by Regina Tende, a senior research scientist at KARI-Katumani. “It was very educational for all staff members who participated,” said Titus Kosgei, IMAS research technician. “We are ready to plant our first mock trials now that our team has been trained on CFT management,” said Dr. Biswanath Das, CIMMYT maize breeder and co-leader of the IMAS project.

Dr. Stephen Mugo, CIMMYT maize breeder and WEMA project leader, was one of the course facilitators. The training was coordinated by KARI maize breeder Murenga Mwimali, in collaboration with CIMMYT and partners from the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services, Monsanto and the NBA.

 

Improved Maize for African Soils(IMAS) was created to improve food security and livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa by creating and sharing new maize varieties that use fertilizer more efficiently and help smallholder farmers get higher yields, even where soils are poor and little commercial fertilizer is used. To learn more about this project and IMAS visit the project website here.

Smart Tools for Farmers in South Asia to Help Increase Yield

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Asia

By Anuradha Dhar/CIMMYT

In South Asia, 90 percent of smallholder farmers using fertilizer lack access to soil testing services. Due to blanket recommendations, the application of nutrients is not well-matched to the local requirements of the soil and crop. Also, excessive and imbalanced use of chemical fertilizers can result in the deterioration of soil fertility. This is becoming a cause for concern to the Indian agriculture sector. According to a study published in the Journal of the Environment, Development and Sustainability, India is losing soil 30 to 40 times faster than the natural replenishment rate. The solution lies in part in having a precise, site-specific nutrient management approach that will build a sustainable and profitable agriculture sector.

CIAT and CIMMYT Complete Genetic Analysis and Plant Breeding Course in Colombia

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in CIMMYT programs, South America

By Luis Narro and Janeth Bolaños/ CIMMYT

Dr. Jiankang Wang planted a bread tree at the end of the course, which is a CIAT tradition to mark the close of an international training course.

Dr. Jiankang Wang planted a bread tree at the end of the course, which is a CIAT tradition to mark the close of an international training course.

CIMMYT’s office in Colombia,  in collaboration with the  International Center for  Tropical Agriculture (CIAT),  organized the Genetic Analysis  and Plant Breeding course from  23-27 June. This course has been  offered in Australia, China and  Mexico and reviews plant breeding  methods as well as quantitative  genetics, development of linkage  maps, quantitative trait loci (QTL)  mapping, identification of genes  with quantitative effect and epistasis,  analysis of the interaction QTL x  environment and integration of the  knowledge of the action of genes in  conventional breeding.

CIMMYT scientist Dr. Jiankang Wang, based in Beijing, facilitated the course with funding from the HarvestPlus Challenge Program.  While the course has been offered 10 times, this is the first to include genetic analysis of vegetative propagation species, which are important for CGIAR centers working with cassava, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

World Food Prize Winner Rajaram: Farmers and Training Are Critical for Wheat Yields

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Achievements & Awards, CIMMYT in the media

By Mike Listman/CIMMYT  

Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, center, joined Nuria Urquía Fernández, left, representative  in Mexico of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United  Nations, and Raúl Urteaga Trani, coordinator of international affairs of Mexico’s  Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food  (SAGARPA), for a news conference on 15 July.

Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, center, joined Nuria Urquía Fernández, left, representative in Mexico of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, and Raúl Urteaga Trani, coordinator of international affairs of Mexico’s Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA), for a news conference on 15 July.

Better research and policies are not enough to ensure that wheat productivity rises to meet the expanding demand of the world population in coming decades, according to Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, 2014 World Food Prize winner and retired CIMMYT distinguished scientist.

“If we want to make a change, research won’t do  it alone; we need to work directly with farmers  and to train young agronomists, ensuring they  have a broad vision to be able to address the problems  in farmers’ fields,” said Rajaram, speaking at a news  conference in Mexico City on 15 July.

SIMLESA Phase II Up and Running

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Africa, Maize

By Gift Mashango and Mekuria Mulugetta

SIMLESA2

Members of the project management committee discussed SIMLESA’s second phase during a 1 July planning meeting in Addis Ababa.

Phase II of the Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa project (SIMLESA) began 1-4 July with a series of planning meetings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. SIMLESA-II is a five-year project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

Members of the project   management committee   (PMC) met on 1 July  to ensure that management and  implementing partners have a  common understanding of project  objectives, targets, milestones,  indicators and the assignment  of coordination responsibilities.  The PMC includes Olaf Erenstein,  director of the Socio-economics  Program; Bruno Gérard,  director of the Conservation  Agriculture Program; Mekuria  Mulugetta, SIMLESA project coordinator; Daniel Rodriguez  of the Queensland Alliance for  Agricultural and Food Innovation;  and Peter Craufurd, SIMLESA strategy leader.

Based on lessons learned from SIMLESA’s first phase, the PMC adjusted the design of activities, timelines and strategies for scaling out SIMLESA practices to farmers.  One recommendation was to assign a coordinator to each of SIMLESA’s four objectives: Paswel Marenya for objective one, Isaiah Nyagumbo for objective two, Peter Setimela for objective three and Michael Misiko for objective four. The PMC noted that during the first phase, research scientists were operating in silos, and they urged the scientists to work as a team since the project objectives and activities are more closely linked in the second phase.

SIMLESA1

Olaf Erenstein, director of CIMMYT’s Socio-economics Program, addressed CIMMYT scientists, SIMLESA national coordinators and partners during a SIMLESA planning meeting.

The PMC also appointed a committee to spearhead the selection of partners for competitive grants in each country. The committee will consist of the national coordinator for each of the five target countries, an ACIAR representative, a project steering committee member, the objective four leaders and a PMC member. The two new partners, the International Livestock Research Institute and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, are responsible for forage- and soil science-related activities, respectively.

A joint meeting with SIMLESA country coordinators was held on 3-4 July. The coordinators gave presentations on achievements of the first phase and lessons learned, plus the challenges and strategic plan for the second phase. Planned project activities for the second phase are not homogeneous across the SIMLESA countries; they are guided by the country’s priorities, the amount of support that will be required and the opportunities for scaling out. Discussion centered on strategies to scale out new technologies to more than 650,000 small-scale farmers by 2023.

At the end of the meeting, all participants agreed on an implantation plan that will be further refined at the national level during country-specific planning and review meetings.

CIMMYT Maize Program Scientists Assist African Plant Breeding Academy Training Program in Kenya

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Africa, Maize, Uncategorized

By B.M. Prasanna and Rita Mumm/CIMMYT

Group photograph of AfPBA trainees and resource persons at ICRAF campus, Nairobi

The first group to take part in the African Plant Breeding Academy training program included 24 scientists from 11 countries in Africa.

The African Plant Breeding Academy (AfPBA) held   a two-week training course on plant breeding at   the World Agroforestry Centre campus in Nairobi 15-28 June. The AfPBA is a continuing education program organized by the University of California, Davis and an initiative of the African Orphan Crops Consortium. It is designed to sharpen skills of plant breeders across Africa on the use of new technologies and current proven approaches to improve genetic gains and efficiencies, leading to increased food security, and to promote innovative research on African orphan crops. The program, which debuted in December 2013, consists of three two-week sessions. This was the second session, with the final session scheduled for December.

Indian Organizations Honor Rajaram for World Food Prize Win

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Achievements & Awards

By Gurdev Singh/CIMMYT

Dr. S. Ayyappan, director general of ICAR, honored Rajaram as “the best living wheat scientist in the world today.”

Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram was on board a flight to New Delhi on 18 June when he was announced as the recipient of the 2014 World Food Prize (WFP). Upon landing, he was given a warm welcome by his close associates in India, Dr. O.P. Shringi and Sanjaya Chhabra of DCM Shriram Ltd. and others, who informed him of the official announcement. After spending some quality time with his family in his hometown of Varanasi, he had a completely new itinerary for his visit that involved several congratulatory events at agriculture-related institutes and organizations.  

Bolivia and CIMMYT Partner to Boost Sustainable Grain Production

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Maize, South America

By Ricardo Curiel/CIMMYT 

Nemesia Achacollo, Bolivia’s Minister of Rural Development and Land, joined CIMMYT Director  General Dr. Thomas A. Lumpkin in the lobby of the Borlaug building during her visit earlier this  year. The two signed a scientific collaboration agreement to strengthen food security in the  Andean country last week in Bolivia.

Nemesia Achacollo, Bolivia’s Minister of Rural Development and Land, joined CIMMYT Director General Dr. Thomas A. Lumpkin in the lobby of the Borlaug building during her visit earlier this year. The two signed a scientific collaboration agreement to strengthen food security in the Andean country last week in Bolivia.

Bolivia became the first  country in South America   to adopt the sustainable intensification strategy for agriculture that CIMMYT has used successfully in Mexico with the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture project (MasAgro), and in countries in Africa and Asia through similar projects. The project in Bolivia will develop new, high-yielding maize varieties adapted to the country’s growing conditions that will be commercialized by the local seed sector. The project also plans to develop and to transfer new technologies for sustainable farming practices based on conservation agriculture principles. “When combined, these factors account for higher and more stable yields, and contribute to mitigate agriculture’s impact on the environment,” said CIMMYT Director General Dr. Thomas A. Lumpkin.

Economist: ‘You May Never Have Heard About CGIAR, but You Need to Care About It’

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in CGIAR, CIMMYT in the media, Visits to CIMMYT

By Carissa Wodehouse/CIMMYT

Visiting Fellow Richard Woodward of the Sheffield Political Economy Research  Institute (SPERI) recently wrote a blog post titled “The CGIAR: The Most  Important International Organisation You’ve Never Heard Of?” in which he  describes the history and impact of CGIAR, including CIMMYT. He wrote that  CGIAR “can justifiably claim to have made the biggest contribution to global  nutritional improvements witnessed in the last 50 years.”

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Copyright © 2014