Posts Tagged ‘NE Borlaug’

India and CIMMYT agree to establish new research institute for South Asia

Posted by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Announcements, Events, Visits to CIMMYT

EL BATAN, 06 September 2010—On a historic day for CIMMYT, Director General Thomas A. Lumpkin and Dr. S Ayyappan, Director General of  the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR),  signed a joint declaration of intent in the presence of H.E. Mr. Sharad Pawar, Honorable Minister of Agriculture of India, to establish the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA). Located in India but serving the entire region, BISA will constitute a state-of-the-art, international agricultural research and development organization that applies cutting-edge technologies to improve cropping systems and help farmers address current and emerging challenges to food security such as climate change, natural resource scarcities, and rising market demand. According to the declaration, the new institute commemorates the “…fond and respectful memory of the late Dr. Norman Borlaug, and his contribution to the Green Revolution of India and of South Asia.”

“BISA will support and pursue advanced research, but our desire is ultimately that the research reach farmers’ fields,” said Minister Pawar. “It has to…if it is going to be in the name of Dr. Borlaug.”

CIMMYT put its best face forward to greet the Minister and a distinguished delegation that included Mr. Ajit Pawar, Minister for Energy and Water Resources, Government of Maharashtra; Mr. Jayant Patil, Minister for Rural Development, Government of Maharashtra; Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE) and Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR); Mr. Dinesh Kumar Jain, Ambassador of India to Mexico; Mr. Mukesh Khullar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture; Mr. Vimlendra Sharan, Private Secretary to Honorable Agriculture Minister of India; and Mr. Dinkar Asthana, Counsellor, Embassy of India to Mexico.

In the El Batán reception lobby, the visitors viewed a recently-built display for prominent awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize given to Dr. Borlaug in 1970 and the 2000 World Food Prize shared by retired CIMMYT Distinguished Scientist Surinder K. Vasal and former CIMMYT Biochemist Evangelina Villegas.

They later toured the Wellhausen-Anderson Crop Genetic Resources Center and maize, wheat, and conservation agriculture demonstration plots.

One of the day’s highlights was the planting of an India-CIMMYT friendship tree in the pine grove near the memorial tree of Dr. Borlaug. The day closed with a gala dinner and ceremony at a leading Indian restaurant in Mexico City. Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, made the first public announcement of BISA in his Independence Day address on 15 August 2010.

“This is a major juncture for CIMMYT, and we are extremely grateful for the interest and support of the Indian government in this new endeavor,” said Lumpkin.

A media release and other materials describing BISA, including a link to the complete text of Dr. Singh’s address, are available at

ISAAA video: The Norman Borlaug Legacy

Posted by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Audio-Video Media & IT

The first 7:24-minute video is The Norman Borlaug Legacy. Dr. James traces the path that Dr. Borlaug took to become an icon of agricultural development for poor farmers of the developing countries of the world. His passion and vision helped “to provide bread for a hungry world” while his acknowledgment of the power of biotechnology has contributed to a better appreciation of the technology.


Borlaug Memorial at El Batán

Posted by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Announcements

memorial1On Friday 18 September 2009, under the pines that Dr. Norman Borlaug had planted at El Batán many years before, CIMMYT-Mexico staff and many friends gathered to honor and commemorate both Borlaug’s extraordinary life and work in a simple and touching ceremony. Among other things, it was clear that Borlaug’s influence had reached far beyond CIMMYT. Chris Dowswell, Borlaug’s aide-de camp for three decades, described the scholarship fund Norm had started for young scientists, and Colegio de Postgraduados professor Dr. Arturo Hernández recalled how he was able to obtain an education thanks to support from Borlaug. Former CIMMYT wheat breeder and director Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, who began as a postdoctoral fellow with Borlaug, mentioned Norm’s strong focus on fieldwork but full mastery of science. Dr. José Guevara Calderón, a Mexican researcher who worked with Borlaug when he first arrived in Mexico, spoke of their experiences together and Gregorio Martínez, who for many years was in charge of institutional relations for CIMMYT in Mexico, talked of Borlaug’s charisma and influence.

A distinctive surprise was the arrival of a note reporting a special accord and moment of silence in the Mexican Senate to honor this researcher who had made Mexico his second home. A recorded message from DG Thomas Lumpkin, traveling in Zimbabwe at the time, was played, and Hans Braun gave heartfelt address. The ceremony closed with participants placing dirt and flowers around a dwarf pine planted in memory of Borlaug. Scott Ferguson, deputy director general for Support Services, spoke of how Borlaug had challenged the status quo and the supposed limits of possibility, DSC_0193confounding the predictions of doomsayers and saving hundreds of millions of lives. “…we do [Borlaug] a disservice to deify him, to treat him as out of touch, living in the ether of the immortals,” said Ferguson. “…as a natural teacher, he would have wanted each one of us to recognize that we could do what he did, that with passion and toughness almost anything is possible.”

International conference confronts Ug99

Posted by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Events, Wheat

BGRIA mixture of cultures and crop specialists poured into Ciudad Obregon, Sonora state, Mexico, this week for a four-day conference on a deadly pathogen that, if left unchecked, could threaten global food security. Nearly 300 scientists, agronomists, and agricultural leaders from over 40 countries attended the event, determined to prevent this from happening.

The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI), created in 2005 to combat wheat rusts, led the 17-20 March meeting. The focus was on Ug99, a particularly dangerous disease that attacks the stem of wheat plants and causes massive yield loss. This pathogen has already been identified in six countries, and threatens dozens more due to its wily ability to mutate and migrate.

“It is a roll of the dice of when it will arrive,” said CIMMYT’s DG Tom Lumpkin during the opening ceremony, referring to the near inevitable spread of Ug99. The disease has overcome previous resistant wheat strands, prompting Lumpkin and others to advocate ready-for-release stockpiles of new varieties that experts believe might stump the disease.

“Our scientists are making incredibly rapid progress, but we should have no illusions: a global food crisis is still a distinct possibility if governments and international institutions fail to support this rescue mission,” said Norman Borlaug, BGRI chair, 1970 Nobel laureate, and father of the Green Revolution.

Throughout the week participants attended lectures, exchanged information, and created new multilateral relationships. “There has never been such an international coordinated effort against rust diseases before. People are working together,” said Harbans Bariana, principal research fellow and associate professor at the University of Sydney’s Cereal Rust Control Program. Participants also visited the Obregon station where they saw Ug99-resistant wheat lines and enjoyed a traditional carne asada.

braun-hodsonHans Braun, director of CIMMYT’s wheat program, took the opportunity to recognize Dave Hodson, former head of the center’s Geographic Information Systems Laboratory, for his vital work on RustMapper, an interactive program used to track and predict the spread of Ug99. Hodson leaves CIMMYT to continue his work with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). “If Dave and his family ever decide that tacos in Texcoco are better than pizza in Rome, they are more than welcome to come back,” Braun joked.

The BGRI consists of a powerful group of organizations including CIMMYT, the Syria-based International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Cornell University, the FAO, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The importance and international implications of this year’s meeting attracted widespread media attention. Over 100 media outlets printed individual or wire (AP, Reuters, AFP) stories about the event.

Borlaug visits Obregón; Patronato and Sonora give CIMMYT US$ 1 million

Posted by Corporate Communications on . Posted in Wheat

Dr. Norman Borlaug had a joyous reunion on 02 April 08 with CIMMYT and Mexican friends and former colleagues at the place—the research facilities near Ciudad Obregón, Sonora state, owned by the farmers union ‘Patronato para la Investigación y Experimentación Agrícola del Estado de Sonora’ where he and his research team developed the Green Revolution wheats. His visit came on the occasion of the announcement there by Ronnie Coffman, director of international programs at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, of a US$ 26.8 million grant to Cornell by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch a global partnership including CIMMYT to combat the rust diseases of wheat, particularly the virulent stem rust strain from eastern Africa, Ug99.

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; 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: Katelyn Roett, Km. 45 Carretera México -Veracruz, El Batán, Texcoco, Estado de México. C. P. 56150, México. Weekly update. © CIMMYT 2014.

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