Dr. Thomas Lumpkin/CIMMYT Director GeneralMexico is seen by many as one of the strongest emerging economies, with a high GDP and strong purchasing power parity. Yet a commonly overlooked fact is that nearly 23 percent of Mexicans, some 27.4 million citizens, still suffer from food shortages and insecurity1. In late 2010, CIMMYT and the Mexican Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) launched the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture project (MasAgro) to raise farm community living standards and foster sustainable food security through research, development, training and the transfer of technology —ultimately to make a difference to the lives of these millions.
From an initial budget of US$ 3 million to a budget of nearly US$ 20 million in 2014, MasAgro has been seen as a success and was described by the G20 Mexico Agriculture Group as “an experience that could serve as a model for coordinating research and development, innovation, transfer of technology, as well as public-private links in the agri-food sector.” Nonetheless, since the 2012 elections and change of government, as is typical, there has been a shift in priorities within SAGARPA with an increased focus on impact and downstream research. These changes also resulted in a changing vision for MasAgro, including new administrative rules. As a result, after months of extended negotiations, the technical annex between CIMMYT and the new SAGARPA administration was agreed upon by both parties, and signed last week.