Happy Seeder, Happy Farmers: Tillage in a Single Pass

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Amina Nasim Khan and Imtiaz Hussain

Gulshad Nabi (Chand) is a progressive farmer from Chak Dahir, Tehsil Muridke in the Sheikhupura District of Punjab Province, Pakistan. He cultivates wheat and basmati rice, which constitute his family’s only source of livelihood. Heavy tillage and burning of rice residues are the common practices for growing wheat in the region, resulting in the loss of soil nutrients, air pollution and poor food security and livelihoods for farmers like Gulshad.

Farmer shares his experience.

Farmer Chand sharing his experience with Sikandar Hayat Bosan (left), Pakistan’s Federal Minister of Food Security & Research.
Photo: Amina Nasim Khan

The Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP), led by CIMMYT and funded by USAID, has begun testing with Punjab farmers the Zero-Tillage Happy Seeder, which sows wheat seed with fertilizer directly into the residues of the preceding rice crop in one pass and without tillage. “This practice offers a more sustainable and productive way to manage rice residues and raise wheat yields,” said Imtiaz Hussain, CIMMYT cropping systems agronomist. “It allows earlier sowing of wheat, which increases yields, and dramatically cuts the time, labor and fuel needed to plant wheat, which normally requires as many as seven tractor passes. Because the rice residues decompose on the soil rather than being burned, there is less pollution.”

CIMMYT Showcases Advances in Agricultural Technology and Development in Pakistan

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Amina Nasim Khan

The Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP), led by CIMMYT and funded by USAID, presented the latest advances in agricultural technology and provided a platform for local industry to explore innovative technologies, products and services at the Pakistan Agriculture Conference and Expo 2015 in Islamabad.

Men speak about their programs.

Mr. Sikandar Hayat Bosan (left), Federal Minister of Food Security & Research, and Mr. Gregory Gottlieb (red tie), Director for USAID Pakistan, visited the stand and talked to Imtiaz Muhammad (far right), CIMMYT Country Representative in Pakistan, and AIP component leads about their programs.
Photos: Amina Nasim Khan

The main attractions were the Zero-Tillage Happy Seeder, durum wheat, biofortified maize, goats bred through artificial insemination, alternate wetting and drying in rice, rice storage in hermetic bags and protected vegetable cultivation models. The AIP exhibit attracted many visitors including farmers, policymakers, agriculture experts and scientists from both public- and private-sector organizations, opening new avenues for AIP to connect with target groups and explore agricultural opportunities in Pakistan.

CIMMYT Country Representative at display.

Imtiaz Muhammad, CIMMYT Country Representative, Pakistan, at the AIP-maize component display.


IICA-CIMMYT Agreement to Strengthen Latin American Agri-culture

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Isabel Peña

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and CIMMYT laid the groundwork for strengthened, joint research-for-development in Latin America, signing a new Cooperation Framework Agreement at CIMMYT’s offices in El Batán on 17 March.

“This agreement allows both organizations to reach more people and carry out more effective projects,” said Marianne Bänziger, CIMMYT’s Deputy Director General for Research and Partnerships. “We’re all working to increase food security and profitability, while reducing migration and building capacity in farmers and extension workers.”

BISA and CIMMYT-India Join in Agricultural Science Fair

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Meenakshi Chandiramani

The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) organized the Pusa Krishi Vigyan Mela (Agriculture Science Fair) during 10-12 March. Initiated in 1972, the Mela is an important annual event for IARI to raise awareness about agricultural technological developments and for receiving feedback from farming communities. The Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) and CIMMYT India mounted an exhibit on their work and staff discussed farming practices and mechanization with several farmers and scientific community members, as well as handing out printed materials to visitors.


Staff memberspose for a photo.

India staff members (L-R) Anuradha Dhar, Meenakshi Chandiramani, Anu Raswant and Kailash Kalvaniya at the exhibit stall in the Mela at IARI, Pusa Campus.

Climate-Smart Agriculture to Combat Global Warming

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ML Jat and Tripti Agarwal, CIMMYT

Agriculture has the potential to be “part of the solution to reduce the impact of climate change,” according to Dr. R.S. Paroda, Chairman of the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences, who was one of nearly 100 participants at a launching and planning workshop for Flagship Projects on climate-smart agriculture of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS). Held on 24-25 February in New Delhi, the event was jointly organized by CIMMYT and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), with participants from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and other partnering countries.

Speakers on stage.

Dr. Ayyappan, Secy DARE & DG, ICAR, felicitating the launch. Photos: CIMMYT-India.

In the fight against climate change, agriculture is both a perpetrator and a victim. Modern agriculture, food production and distribution are major contributors of greenhouse gases, generating about one-quarter of global emissions. Climate-smart agriculture addresses the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change by sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, building resilience in food-production systems and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture.

CIMMYT at the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture

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Katie Lutz

During 9-11 March, scientists from 90 countries gathered at the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture in Abu Dhabi to discuss the looming topic of feeding nine billion people by the year 2050.

GFIA logo.

Global Forums for Innovation in Agriculture (GFIA) logo

Population is rising and natural resources are fading. Innovations in agriculture that use less of the world’s natural resources and address global warming, improve nutrition, ensure global food security and reduce poverty are critical, according to Jon Hellin, value chain and poverty specialist for CIMMYT’s Socioeconomics Program. Hellin presented his research on crop index insurance and its effect on farmers’ adoption of climate-smart agricultural technologies.

Studies Confirm the Value of Biofortification

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Sam Storr

A study published early this month in the Journal of Nutrition shows that biofortified maize can meet zinc requirements and provide an effective dietary alternative to regular maize for children in vulnerable areas of rural Zambia.



“This adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the efforts of HarvestPlus, a CGIAR global effort to end hidden hunger and to which CIMMYT contributes through the development of maize and wheat with enhanced levels of vitamin A, zinc, and iron,” said Natalia Palacios, CIMMYT Maize Nutrition Quality Specialist and co-author in the study. “Maize is an important staple food for 900 million people living on less than $2 each day, but a diet rich in maize cannot always provide the nutrients needed by the body.”

Maize and Wheat Global Gender Study: coding large-scale data to reveal the drivers of agricultural innovation

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Sam Storr

Over the last week, MAIZE and WHEAT CRP investigators from the global cross-CRP study on gender in agricultural innovation met at El Batán from 26 Feb to 1 March to take stock of progress so far and plan the next steps in the implementation of this unique research initiative.

Group poses for photo.

From left to right: Patti Petesch, Diana Lopez, Paula Kantor, Vongai Kandiwa, Dina Najjar, Lone Badstue, Anuprita Shukla and Amare Tegbaru. Photo: Xochiquetzal Fonseca/CIMMYT

The study will draw on interviews and focus groups with men and women engaged in small-scale farming around the world, to hear in their words how they practice and innovate in agriculture, and what factors, especially gender relations, they feel have influenced their success and failures. Through rigorous analysis both of the broader patterns in the data and delving deep into the case studies, the aim is to develop strategic research publications as well as practical observations and tools to integrate gender-sensitivity into agricultural research and development.

Researchers Define and Measure “Sustainability”

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Katelyn Roett

Leading specialists on the sustainable intensification of agriculture tried to hammer out indicators for assessing “sustainability,” a development term that refers roughly to the health and longevity of a system, at a 13 February workshop in San Jose, California. Field.

“Sustainable intensification seeks to increase farm productivity while conserving social and ecological resources, said Rishi Basak, consultant for CIMMYT’s Global Conservation Agriculture Program (GCAP) who took part in the event, held during the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting, 12-16 February.

Men’s Roles and Attitudes are Key to Gender Progress, says CIMMYT Gender Specialist

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Mike Listman

Paula Kantor

Photo: Xochiquetzal Fonseca/CIMMYT

Gender research and outreach should engage men more effectively, according to Paula Kantor, CIMMYT gender and development specialist who is leading an ambitious new project to empower and improve the livelihoods of women, men and youth in wheat-based systems of Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Pakistan.

“Farming takes place in socially complex environments, involving individual women and men who are embedded in households, local culture and communities, and value chains — all of which are colored by expectations of women’s and men’s appropriate behaviors,” said Kantor, who gave a brownbag presentation on the project to an audience of more than 100 scientists and other staff and visitors at El Batán on 20 February. “We tend to focus on women in our work and can inadvertently end up alienating men, when they could be supporters if we explained what we’re doing and that, in the end, the aim is for everyone to progress and benefit.”

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.

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