Harnessing Mexico’s Sun: CIMMYT Installs 920 Solar Panels in Green Initiative

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Katelyn Roett

Mexico’s solar thermal and photovoltaic resources are among the world’s best. Just one square of 25 kilometers in the State of Chihuahua or the Sonoran desert would be sufficient to supply electricity to the entire country.1 Mexico’s Secretariat of Energy (SENER) predicts the country will have 6 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy installed by 2020, although less than 1% of that is currently installed. The Mexican Government offers no direct subsidy to solar energy.

Demand for electricity in Mexico is increasing, and 22 GW will be needed by 2025. Energy costs are rising 8-10% annually. Despite little government intervention, the private solar sector in Mexico has been booming, experiencing triple-digit growth rates every three years over the past ten years and becoming one of the fastest growing solar energy markets globally.

Extensive Climate-smart Agriculture Campaign Reaches over 15,000 Farmers in Punjab and Haryana, India

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Tripti Agarwal, H.S. Jat and M.L. Jat

On 1 May 2015, CIMMYT, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Haryana’s Department of Agriculture, with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and India’s National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA), celebrated, at the climate-smart village of Beer Narayana, Karnal, India, the conclusion of a 15-day awareness campaign on the negative effects of crop residue burning on biodiversity, the environment, and human and animal health.

Nepali Scientists Set Their Sights on Developing Stress Tolerant Maize Varieties

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P.H. Zaidi

Nepal’s National Maize Research Program (NMRP) and CIMMYT organized a training course on developing stress tolerant maize for Nepali scientists at the NMRP in Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal, on 17 April 2015. The event was part of CIMMYT’s Heat Tolerant Maize for Asia (HTMA) project supported by the United States Agency for International Development under its Feed the Future initiative. The course provided an opportunity to learn the principles, tools and techniques involved in developing high yielding maize hybrids with enhanced tolerance to major abiotic stresses such as drought and heat.

Wheat Seed Growers in Balochistan, Pakistan, Benefit from First Sector-wide Training

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Attiq Ur Rehman, Tariq Saleem, Mike Listman and Krishna Dev Joshi

CIMMYT organized a one-day training session and on-farm demonstration on 17 March 2015 on participatory wheat variety selection, during which nine newly released, high yielding, rust resistant wheat varieties were introduced to smallholders in the 13 districts of Balochistan Province, Pakistan. This is the first time in the history of the province that such a large number of wheat varieties has been evaluated and deployed. These activities were supported by seed producers in collaboration with Quetta’s Agriculture Research Institute (ARI), Balochistan Agricultural Research and Development Centre (BARDC), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and Department of Agriculture Extension.

CIMMYT-Afghanistan to Produce Seed of First Maize Hybrids

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Rajiv Sharma

In Afghanistan, CIMMYT has released three new maize hybrid varieties, the first public sector hybrids of any crop in the country. To foster the rapid and efficient production of seed of the new hybrids, CIMMYT-Afghanistan, in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Institute of Afghanistan (ARIA), held a two-day (25-26 April 2015) training course on maize breeding and quality seed production. In attendance were 56 participants from the government, academia, national and international organizations and seed companies. The course, conducted by AbduRahman Beshir, CIMMYT-Pakistan Maize Improvement and Seed System Specialist, was inaugurated by ARIA Director Qasem Obaidi and Rajiv Sharma, CIMMYT-Afghanistan Country Representative. Sharma highlighted the importance of participants learning about the new hybrids and collaborating to ensure their seed is adopted throughout the country.

Maize Lethal Necrosis Workshop, Conference and Screening

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Sharing Knowledge, Experience and Expertise to Curb Spread

Brenda Wawa and Njeri Okono

Maize lethal necrosis (MLN) has rapidly emerged as one of the deadliest maize diseases in eastern Africa, capable of causing complete yield loss under heavy disease pressure. This means that Kenya and neighboring countries, which largely depend on maize as their main staple food and source of income are on the verge of a looming food and economic crisis.

Vital Legacy of Gender Specialist Paula Kantor

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CIMMYT is sad to announce the tragic death of our friend and respected colleague, gender and development specialist Paula Kantor.

Paula Kantor

Paula Kantor. Photo: Xochil Fonseca/CIMMYT

Paula died on May 13, in the aftermath of an attack on the hotel where she was staying in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues,” said Thomas Lumpkin, CIMMYT’s director general.

“Paula’s desire to help people and make lasting change in their lives often led her into challenging settings. Her dedication and bravery was much admired by those who knew her and she leaves a lasting legacy upon which future research on gender and food security should build.”

10 Influential African Women Are Shaping the Future of Agriculture

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Katelyn Roett


The Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security recently featured ten influential African women on their online blog. Despite the low percentage of women in agricultural research – only one out of four researchers and one out of seven research leaders are female – there are powerful women actively championing the cause of gender equality in agriculture and shaping the future of agricultural growth in Africa.

Among these groundbreaking researchers, scientists and policymakers is Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, who served on CIMMYT’s Board of Trustees since 2009 and finished her appointment this past April. Currently CEO and head-of-mission at the Africa-wide Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), Sibanda has over 20 years of experience in rural development, research and partnerships.

CIMMYT-CCAFS Initiative Seeks to Achieve Food and Nutrition Security in East Africa by 2025

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Fite Getaneh and Kindie Tesfaye


The CIMMYT-led Integrated Agricultural Production and Food Security Forecasting System for East Africa (INAPFS) project was launched at an inception workshop held on 15-16 April 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya, that brought together participants from national weather services and disaster risk management offices in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi, as well as from NGOs and research institutions operating in the region.

Funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) under its Flagship 2 initiative, the project aims to develop a robust, scientifically sound and user-friendly forecasting system that integrates improved seasonal climate, production and food security forecasts for east Africa. It will also provide accurate and spatially disaggregated early warnings to local and national governments and relief agencies, enabling them to respond to climate crises in a timely and efficient manner.

Happy Seeder Technology Spurs Conservation Agriculture in China

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Participants pose for photo.

At the Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Science Research Station in Chengdu, Tang Yonglu and his CA research team welcome the mini happy seeder they received through GCAP-China agronomist, Allen Jack McHugh. Photo: Allen Jack McHugh/CIMMYT.

Allen Jack McHugh


The CIMMYT-China Global Conservation Agriculture Program (GCAP) has delivered to key collaborators, locally designed planters that are being implemented through a broad Conservation Agriculture (CA) research network headed by Allen Jack McHugh, GCAP-China’s cropping system agronomist. National researchers are introducing CA into their programs and CA demonstration sites across the country are being readied for planting.

GCAP-China has been working closely with the Wangnongda Peanut Machinery Manufacturing Company (WPMMC) based in Qingdao, to develop a range of planters based on happy seeder technology, which is utilized extensively in India. A constraint to adoption of zero tillage across China has been the lack of a suitable planter that can cope with high residue loads on small farms under irrigation and on rainfed farms in the higher rainfall areas further south. WPMMC has worked with Qingdao Agricultural University and Ningxia Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Science (NAAFS) on various planting and harvesting equipment for years. NAAFS imported a large happy seeder from India in 2009, and then developed a range of low-cost, light-weight happy seeders for use with 25 horsepower (hp) to 75 hp tractors and, most recently, a two-wheeled tractor.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) edits and publishes an internet periodical in blog format entitled “CIMMYT.” The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center is domiciled at Km. 45 Carretera México-Veracruz, Col, el Batán, Texcoco, Estado de México, México, C.P. 56237; phone + 52 (55) 5804-2004; www.cimmyt.org. Responsible Editor: Genevieve Renard. Reserved Right for Exclusive Use granted by the Mexican Copyright Office (valid in Mexico) no. 04-2013-091212312700-203. Responsible for updating this blog: Carissa Wodehouse, communications officer, Km. 45 Carretera México -Veracruz, El Batán, Texcoco, Estado de México. C. P. 56150, México. Weekly update. © CIMMYT 2014.

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