Posts Tagged ‘CIMMYT’

Climate Change Mitigation: Social Learning in Smallholder Systems

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Asia, CCAFS

By Tek Sapkota, Promil Kapoor and M.L. Jat, CIMMYT/CCAFS 

The eastern Indo-Gangetic Plain in South Asia is one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change. As part of propoor climate change mitigation work – which focuses on poverty reduction – under the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), CIMMYT is actively working on adaptation, risk management and quantifying the mitigation potential of traditional and resilient management practices in smallholder systems in the region.

Participants gather in Bihar, India. Photo: Manish Kumar/CIMMYT

Participants gather in Bihar, India. Photo: Manish Kumar/CIMMYT

CIMMYT, in close collaboration with India’s national agricultural research system, manages extensive research on the quantification of climate change mitigation potential for precision-conservation agriculture-based cereal systems in South Asia. CIMMYT scientists and collaborators are working on the quantification of greenhouse gases (GHGs) under different scenarios and gathered for a twoday social learning workshop on standardizing related protocols. Attendees from CIMMYT and the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA), along with participants from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), the national research system and two students from the Climate Food and Farming Network (CLIFF), gathered in Pusa, Samastipur, Bihar, during 15-16 January.

Australian Delegation Praises CIMMYT’s Global Achievements

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Visits to CIMMYT

By Miriam Shindler/CIMMYT

The Honorary Bronwyn Bishop, speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, commended CIMMYT’s impressive achievements during a visit to the El Batán campus on 16 January. Bishop was accompanied by Tim George, the Australian ambassador to Mexico, as well as three other members of the House of Representatives and a member of the Senate.

Snapshot: CIMMYT works with the World Agroforestry Centre

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Africa, Events

Photo: Sherry Odeyo/ICRAF

Photo: Sherry Odeyo/ICRAF

CIMMYT Director General Thomas Lumpkin displays an agreement between CIMMYT and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) regarding office space at its headquarters in Nairobi. Lumpkin was accompanied by CIMMYT Regional Liaison Officer Wilfred Mwangi (left) and ICRAF Director of Finance and Operations Laksiri Abeysekera.

“You go to the field.” U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Agronomy, Capacity Building, Conservation Agriculture, food security, Maize, Wheat

When asked how you become a successful wheat breeder, ArielDr. Norman E. Borlaug replied, “Well, you go to the field. You go to the field again, and then you go to the field. When the wheat plants start to talk to you, you know you have made it.” The Nobel Peace Prize, the Congressional Gold Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom were awarded to Dr. Borlaug for saving the lives of over one billion through his efforts. Borlaug’s legacy continues today through the U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security Program at the Center for Global Food Security, Purdue University, providing graduate students the opportunity to “go to the field” and become successful scientists in their own right.

CIMMYT-CAAS-Seed industry interface on rapid-cycle maize breeding

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Asia, CIMMYT programs, improved seed, Maize, Training

To strengthen the modern technology-driven maize breeding in China, “CIMMYT-CAAS-Seed Industry Interface on Rapid-cycle Maize Breeding” was held on June 9, 2012 in CIMMYT-CAAS Joint International Research Center based in Beijing. Co-sponsored by CIMMYT, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), and the Generation Challenge Programme (GCP), the workshop was attended by 52 scientists and managers from 23 seed companies and public sector institutions in China. Their aim was to establish a dynamic interface between the CIMMYT-CAAS maize team and the seed industry to begin rapid-cycle, genomic selection-based maize breeding, under an initiative titled “Eight + One”—that is, eight seed companies plus the CAAS institute of crop sciences—as an industryinstitution collaboration platform for commercial maize breeding.

Senior managers addressing participants included David Bergvinson, senior program officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; GCP director Jean-Marcel Ribaut; Shumin Wang, deputy director, CAAS-ICS; and from CIMMYT, Gary Atlin, associate director of the CIMMYT global maize program, and Kevin Pixley, director of the genetic resources program.

Scientists presented on CIMMYT work in genomic selection (concept and CIMMYT activities, Xuecai Zhang), double haploid approaches in maize breeding (Daniel Jeffers), marker-assisted selection in maize breeding (Yunbi Xu), modeling and simulation in plant breeding (Jiankang Wang), bioinformatics and computing needs for genomic selection (Gary Atlin), and our breeding pipeline and examples from lowland tropical maize breeding (Xuecai Zhang). BGI-Shenzhen’s Gengyun Zhang described the company’s genotyping platforms and service. A group discussion addressed rapid-cycle maize breeding through industry-institution collaboration, such as the molecular breeding network in China, coordinated genotyping and phenotyping, use of temperate and tropical DH inducers, environmental data collection, and standardization of maize trials.

Participants also attended an “Open Day for Chinese Breeders,” a concurrent session of the 3rd Annual Meeting of Integrated Breeding Platform Project organized by GCP and CAAS, were introduced to IB FieldBook and IBP Analysis Tools. “(This workshop) came at a right time and brought us right information and knowledge for accelerating maize commercial breeding,” said Zanyong Sun, Vice president of Beijing Denong Seed Co. The workshop’s chief organizer, maize molecular breeder Yunbi Xu, sees it as an important first step for industry institution initiatives. “We’ll establish a common genotyping and MAS platform to serve the Chinese maize breeding community,” he said.

Using double haploid in maize breeding

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in CIMMYT programs, improved seed, Maize, Training

The use of doubled haploids in maize breeding was first proposed more than half a century ago. Today, the in vivo haploid induction technique is routinely used in maize inbred line development, in both the public and the private sector. The DH technology enhances maize breeding in two ways: 1) it reduces the time required to produce completely homozygous inbred lines. Whereas six or more generations of self-pollination are needed to traditionally produce inbreds, DH technology produces inbreds in only two generations; and 2) because the higher genetic variance among DH lines compared to F2 plants, or selfed F3 or F4 families, improves the effectiveness of selection.

DH technology in maize breeding was the theme of a training workshop organized by the University of Hohenheim (UH) and CIMMYT at Stuttgart, Germany, during 11-15 June 2012. The program was organized under the ‘Abiotic stress tolerant maize for Asia’ (ATMA) project funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). A total of 21 scientists, including maize breeders and physiologists from Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Vietnam, UH, and CIMMYT attended the weeklong course. Experts on DH technology from UH, CIMMYT, and German seed companies served as resource persons on the course, delivering lectures on various aspects of DH technology in maize breeding. Mornings were devoted to lectures whilst in the afternoons, participants undertook hands-on, practical project in various aspects of DH line development and production.

Day-1 presenters included UH’s Wolfgang Schipprack; Vanessa Prigge, an ex-PhD student of UH and CIMMYT who is currently working as a Potato Breeder in SaKa Pflanzenzucht GbR, and T. Wegenast, Dow AgroSciences. In the afternoon, participants worked on identification of haploid kernels from various DH-induced populations and planted haploid kernels on germination paper for development of seedlings. DH lab members at UH explained and demonstrated the selection of haploid kernels and developing seedlings for colchicine treatment for chromosome doubling.

On the second day, B. Schilling and B. Devezi of the UH-DH lab jointly presented various aspects of management of greenhouses, safety issues, and requirements for running a successful DH program. E. Senger a PhD student at UH, and Vijay Chaikam, CIMMYT, also shared their experiences. During the afternoon, preparation of colchicine solution, preparation of maize seedling for colchicine treatment, application of colchicine treatment, and the transplanting the seedlings in greenhouse were demonstrated to the participants.

Participants also visited the UH-DH research station at Eckartsweier, where Schipprack detailed various field based aspects of DH development including selection of plants for transplanting in field, organized demonstration of mechanized transplanting of D0 plants, management of D0 nursery, and identification of false positives in the nursery. After the D0 nursery, participants visited the DH inducer development and maintenance nursery, D2 nurseries, and the isolation block for production of induction crosses. On the final day of the workshop, UH’s A.E. Melchinger delivered a lecture on the application of marker-based prediction strategies for DH lines and discussed various models and approaches for prediction of DH lines. George Mahuku shared updates on DH line production and development of tropical inducer lines at CIMMYT, and talked about possible models for use of DH technology by national breeding programs in Asia. Participants appreciated the initiatives and efforts of CIMMYT and UH, and discussed various options to get DH technology into their breeding programs.

Avinash Singode, Directorate of Maize Research, Bhagya Rani Banik, Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute, and Le Quy Kha, National Maize Research Institute, were very supportive of the course and expressed their sincere thanks to organizers. P.H. Zaidi, Project Coordinator, ATMA, thanks Prof. Melchinger and Schipprack and his team for their time, efforts, and inputs in jointly organizing the workshop, and emphasized the need to follow up on this in the hope that within one year, each participating institution will have access to DH technology in their program, at least through Model-1 (send their most elite population to CIMMYT, and get back DH lines), as suggested by Mahuku.

Angola to strengthen DTMA collaboration

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Africa, Capacity Building, CIMMYT programs, Maize

During the week of 18-22 June 2012, the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project leader Tsedeke Abate, accompanied by CIMMYT maize breeder Cosmos Magorokosho and socioeconomist Girma Tesfahun visited Angola, where they received a warm welcome from the government. Dibanzilua Nginamau, from DTMA in Angola, accompanied them on their visit. The trip provided the DTMA team an opportunity to dialogue with government officials and seed company representatives.

The DTMA team met with the permanent secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MOARDF), José Rodrígues Prata Junior, on 19 June 2012. Prata Junior expressed his enthusiasm about working with CIMMYT and said that he is keenly following DTMA work with the Instituto de Investigaçao Agronómica (IIA). Maize is crucial to the Angolan economy; last year, the country imported 700,000 metric tons of maize grain. In 2011, DTMA facilitated the purchase of 14 tons of basic seed of the drought tolerant open pollinated variety ZM 523 (a CIMMYT-derived variety) from Agri Seed, a Zimbabwean company.

The team also attended the Angola National Coordinating Unit meeting at IIA-Huambo, opened by the institute’s director general Mpanzo Domingos and which brought together DTMA national partners. The team met with Antonio Faceira, the proprietor of Mundo Verde, a private company that works with DTMA in Angola.

Last year, Faceira supplied 600 tons of ZM 523 to the government at no cost for distribution to smallholder farmers. Next year, he hopes to expand this to 2,000 tons. The DTMA team visited the Mundo Verde farm which has an average yield for maize of 8 t/ha (the current national yield is about 0.7 t/ha).

The CIMMYT team, accompanied by Nginamau and Faceira, had a second meeting with Prata Junior on 22 June 2012. Thanking him for the warm welcome and willingness to support DTMA work in Angola, Abate pointed out the need for favorable policies on variety release and the involvement of the private sector in developing a sustainable seed production and delivery system. Discussions during the meeting also emphasized the need for the agriculture ministry to set targets for increasing the maize yield within the next five years. Abate reiterated CIMMYT’s willingness to offer technical support towards achieving the government’s goal of accelerated maize production. Prata Junior welcomed the suggestions and asked for immediate support in capacity building. He also emphasized the need for the capacity to produce basic seed within Angola and pointed out that the country is importing an additional 20,000 tons seed for the coming season. Prata Junior said the introduction of early-maturing hybrids would be highly appreciated in light of recurrent droughts in the country. He also pledged to follow up with the MOARDF for the large-scale dissemination of DTMA varieties.

Laying foundations to create productive and sustainable cropping systems in Asia

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Asia, CIMMYT programs, Conservation Agriculture, Training

The third offering of the advance course-Asia “Conservation Agriculture: Gateway for Productive and Sustainable Cropping Systems” began at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, India, on 28 May 2012. The advanced, two-week course (May 28-June 9) was organized jointly by CIMMYT, the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) Punjab Hub, and PAU. Participants came from backgrounds in agronomy, soil science, engineering, plant breeding, and plant pathology, and included representatives from Iran, Afghanistan, China, Bangladesh, and India.

While inaugurating the course, H.S. Sidhu, Senior Agriculture Engineer, Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA), Ludhiana, welcomed the participants and dignitaries and participants. The chief guest of the inaugural function, Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, emphasized India’s recent growth. “India’s agricultural production reached 253 million tons in 2011,” he said, adding that cropping intensity has risen from 126 percent in 1996 to nearly 190 percent at present. He urged the scientific community to continue with “development based research,” focusing on conservation agriculture and the improvement of livelihoods in farming communities. ML Jat, CIMMYT Senior Cropping Systems Agronomist and Course Coordinator, said that provision of food security has become the priority of policy makers. “We must consider the conservation of natural resources as an imperative and unavoidable act,” he urged.

Focusing on the contemporary agricultural situation in Asia, the course dealt with theory and practices to address key issues such as over-exploitation of natural resources, depleting underground water tables, multi-nutrient deficiencies in crops, soil health degradation, climate change, crop residue burning by farmers etc. It aimed to develop enhanced knowledge and transfer skills on various resource conservation themes, such as the principles of conservation agriculture (CA), application of various tools, techniques and CA implements for diverse production systems, component technologies like genotype tillage, irrigation water management, nutrient management, weed control, crop residue management etc. The course emphasized field training (Hands on) on precision land levelling, calibration and operation of CA machinery (small and large), spray techniques, and planting protocols for different establishment systems. Field visits allowed interactions with machinery manufacturers, cooperative institutions, and farmers. It is hoped that technological innovations in the farming sector and their proper dissemination to the farming community will address food security needs.

Organizers would like to thank the following people for their valuable contributions: Jaskaran S. Mahal, SS Kukal, Varinder Pal, GS Buttar (PAU), Rajvir Yadav (IARI), H.S. Siddhu & Raj Gupta (BISA), Ken Sayre, Mahesh Gathala, Petr Kosina, Yadvinder Singh, Surabhi Mittal (CIMMYT) R.K. Malik, BR Kamboj, Virender Kumar (CSISA), , and other staff of PAU, CIMMYT, BISA and CSISA.

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