Posts Tagged ‘IMIC’

Fine-tuning plans to develop improved seed markets in Mexico

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Maize, México, Training

Executive representatives of more than 30 Mexican smallscale seed companies who belong to the International Maize Yield Consortium (IMIC) of the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture (MasAgro) program attended a workshop titled “Planning the MasAgro-IMIC network of seed sector members and partners.”

Initially workshop participants were given general information on progress achieved by MasAgro. Félix San Vicente, IMIC leader at CIMMYT, then presented a list of basic and pre-commercial materials that IMIC has developed for Mexico’s main agro-ecological environments. San Vicente also described several training and capacity building activities that IMIC has prepared and which should contribute to increasing the productivity of Mexico’s seed industry.

Laura Donnet, IMIC’s Socioeconomic Studies coordinator, estimated that the companies represented at the workshop currently hold close to an 18% share of the market. For this reason, the challenge for IMIC is to collaborate with Mexican seed companies and help them to work together to sustainably increase their market share.

With this goal in mind, workshop discussions centered on identifying market information that seed companies require to successfully market IMIC’s new products. Seed producers also focused on designing commercialization and marketing strategies that would contribute to developing the improved seed market in MasAgro’s target areas. As a result, action plans were established for each agro-ecological area with the aim of promoting the adoption of improved seed by IMIC network members and partners.

Also attending the workshop were experts in plant breeding, seed markets and Mexico’s agroindustrial maize chain. During the general meetings workshop organizers were able to gather information on what the seed sector expects from MasAgro. The participants expressed great interest in having IMIC foster very close coordination between public sector development programs and their seed production activities.

New maize storage system as CIMMYT expands

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Announcements, Genetic resources, Maize

All of us who work at CIMMYT have noticed its recent growth—new faces, new projects, and new facilities being constructed at El Batán and elsewhere. All of this means more research is getting done, and, inparticular, the global maize program is using and producing more breeding materials.

Until recently, the question for the maize program was, where to put them? “The old system just didn’t havethe capacity to store any more seed,” says Efrén Rodríguez, head of data processing and seed distribution.

In a smart solution to the space problem, between 07 February and 16 March 2012 a new system of movable shelving units was installed in the genetic resources center. These can be moved sideways using a winding handle, eliminating the need for a permanent passage between each set of shelves.

The previous fixed shelving had a capacity of 2,880 boxes,whereas the new storage system can hold 4,104—an increase in capacity of more than 40%, with further space available on topof the units if needed. It also takes up slightly less space.

Thanks to Gary Atlin, Félix San Vicente, and Natalia Palacios for their support to this project.

The new storage system is an essential step in supporting the Maize Improvement Consortium for Latin America (IMIC-LA),which is a component of the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture (MasAgro) initiative. Improvements will also be made in on other places such as a second drying room and storage space for Seeds of Discovery materials.

Field day of the International Maize Improvement Consortium for Asia

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Asia, Events, Maize

On 13 March 2012, the first field day of the International Maize Improvement Consortium–Asia (IMIC-Asia) was held. The meeting, organized by CIMMYT-Asia and held at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), welcomed 50 participants from 26 national, regional, and multinational seed organizations.

B.S. Vivek, CIMMYT-Asia senior maize breeder, started the day with a warm welcome and a brief overview of the field demonstrations of maize materials. The participants then made field selections of those that interested them. The afternoon session started with Vivek detailing the progress made in IMIC-Asia since the consortium began in 1 July 2010. P.H. Zaidi, CIMMYT-Asia senior maize physiologist, then coordinated a discussion on priority traits and locations for IMIC hybrid evaluations. The meeting concluded with members giving their impressions of the field day and suggestions to further strengthen IMIC activities. They expressed their appreciation of CIMMYT’s efforts and the progress already made. They were confident that it would serve as a platform for strengthening their maize breeding programs and their product portfolios.

The consortium approach has been adopted to enable partnerships between CIMMYT and private seed companies to facilitate the development and testing of inbred and hybrid maize, and for training of maize breeders. Some of the underlying principles include client determined research prioritization; a more focused, demand-driven approach; and an engagement where partner accountability is better defined. This mode of operation with partners is expected to have a targeted impact on agricultural productivity and poverty.

Private seed companies to play an active role in IMIC-LA

Written by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Capacity Building, Events, Maize, MasAgro, México

“Cooperation between the public and private sectors will be crucial to achieve the objectives of the International Maize Improvement Consortium for Latin America (IMIC-LA),” said Marc Rojas, IMIC-LA Leader. As one part of CIMMYT’s MasAgro initiative, IMIC aims to increase maize yields by 85 percent over the next 10 years, through the adoption of improved varieties by farmers, sustainable farming practices, and enhanced efficiency across the entire maize value chain.

During 23-25 November 2011, 36 representatives of seed companies and organizations met to discuss the potential contributions of private seed companies to IMIC-LA, and to learn how they can benefit from participating in MasAgro. The representatives came from many different areas of Mexico, and from organizations of varying sizes. “Through collaboration in the consortium, these small companies can become collectively competitive,” said Rojas, “this is vital if we are to achieve IMIC’s target of increasing the average maize production of Mexico’s rain fed areas from 2.2 tons/hectare to 3.7 tons/hectare,” he added.

The first two days of the workshop provided an opportunity for capacity building, specific to seed businesses. John MacRobert, CIMMYT Seed Systems Specialist, gave an overview of IMIC’s activities in Africa and Asia, and introduced the main aspects of the value chain of a seed business. Open communication allowed the group to identify many similarities between Africa and Latin America, and how lessons learnt within other projects could be applied to operations in Latin America. MacRobert also helped participants to pinpoint potential weaknesses in their businesses, and how these could be addressed. “Good seed must come with good planning,” said MacRobert, emphasizing that planning is key, particularly in anticipating the requirement for parent seed, and in ensuring budgeting prevents bottlenecks. Other factors to ensure success, such as production research and quality assurance, were reviewed by Manuel Velázquez, a Mexican seed sector specialist.

The many advantages that IMIC can provide to seed companies were highlighted during the meeting: diverse training, supply of pre-basic seed of identified final products, and collaborative evaluation networks. In return, participants are expected to provide input for market analyses and testing sites and products for the evaluation networks, as well as to produce and market high-quality seed. Ángelo Vera Gómez from the Federation of Maize Producers for the State of Mexico said that he sees MasAgro as a turning point: “It’s what we as producers have been waiting for; we would like that farmers’ experience can be combined with research, to take advantage of both aspects,” he said.

The third day of the workshop welcomed representatives from Mexico’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) and the National Service for Seed Inspection and Certification (SNICS). Rojas stressed to participants that whilst IMIC does not provide funding for seed companies, once within the MasAgro program, it becomes easier for them to gain financial support from other government programs. Participants used this final day to plan work activities for the coming year and create a collaboration agreement; by the end of November, around 90 percent of participants are expected to have signed up to the consortium.

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