CIMMYT-Led Climate Project is Finalist at Asia Mobile Tech Awards

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Achievements & Awards, Asia

By Katie Lutz 

A CIMMYT-led project was named as a finalist for the 2014 mBillionth Award South Asia thanks to its mobile platform that helps farmers adapt to changing climate conditions.

“Dissemination of climate-smart agro-advisories to farmers in CCAFS benchmark sites of India” was launched in August 2013 under the leadership of Dr. Surabhi Mittal, a senior agricultural economist based in India, in cooperation with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). In the past 10 months, the project has helped 1,200 male and female farmers in eight Indian villages to gain more knowledge about climate-smart technology and adopt technologies to lessen their risks from climate fluctuations. The project also measured how receiving information on mobile telephones will affect farmers.certificate

More than 300 entries were submitted for the award, which honors the most influential and leading practices in the mobile and telecommunications industry in South Asia. It was presented 18 July by the Digital Empowerment Foundation and Vodafone in a ceremony at the India Habitat Center. The CIMMYT project received acknowledgment for its impact on small farmers from Sanjeev Gupta, joint secretary of the Indian Ministry of Agriculture, and M.V. Ashok, chief general manager of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.

CIMMYT’S director general, Dr. Thomas A. Lumpkin, congratulated everyone involved with the project. “This shows your technological leadership,” he said in a staff email announcing the award. “Use this to energize your activities.”

Affordable Drought-Tolerant Maize for Small Holder Farmers

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Asia, Maize

By Anita Mins

There is a growing need for drought-tolerant maize cultivars among smallholder farmers in developing countries, particularly in Asia where the cultivars’ development is a technical reality and outputs are achievable. Public-private partnership projects such as the Affordable, Accessible, Asian Drought-Tolerant Maize (AAA) project attempt to address smallholder farmers’ urgent and long-lasting need to access available and affordable new crop varieties that are robust, drought-tolerant and high-yielding.

Climate-Smart Villages in Indian Punjab Are Heading for Resilient Farming

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Asia

By JM Sutaliya, Parvinder Singh, Tripti Agarwal, ML Jat/CIMMYT and Anil Bana/Department of Agriculture, Government of Punjab, India

Punjab agriculture officers and farmers met in June to discuss the climate-smart villages that CIMMYT is testing, and they agreed that the CSVs offer one of the best strategies for making farming resilient and sustainable in the state.

Punjab agriculture officers and farmers met in June to discuss the climate-smart villages that CIMMYT is testing, and they agreed that the CSVs offer one of the best strategies for making farming resilient and sustainable in the state.

CIMMYT, with financial support from the CCAFS South Asia regional program, recently initiated climate-smart village (CSV) pilots in Punjab State, India. On 16 June, Dr. IPS Sandhu, chief agriculture officer of Patiala District, and several other officers visited Aluna, one of the CSVs being piloted in close collaboration with the Punjab Department of Agriculture and several innovative farmers. The on-site stakeholder discussions on the emerging challenges of climate change included topics such as the El Niño effect during the current monsoon season and extended rains during the maturity period of winter crops.

CIMMYT-CCAFS Scientists Identify Maize Varieties That Can Withstand Drought and High Temperatures in Zimbabwe

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Africa, Maize

By Florence Sipalla and Jill Cairns/CIMMYT

Schoolchildren sang a song they composed about climate change and agriculture at a field day in Gokwe, Zimbabwe.

Schoolchildren singing a song they composed about climate change and agriculture at a field day in Gokwe, Zimbabwe.

CIMMYT scientists working on the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) have identified the most suitable maize varieties for high temperature and drought-prone environments in Zimbabwe. The scientists have been conducting research on drought- and heat-tolerant maize varieties in areas that are vulnerable to climate variability and climate change in Zimbabwe. Working in collaboration with Sustainable Agriculture Technology (SAT), a local NGO, the scientists are testing the suitability of drought- and heat-tolerant varieties as a solution to challenges farmers face in “climate hotspots.”

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.

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.

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