Do women benefit from conservation agriculture?

Grace Malaitcha, from Zidyana, Malawi is considered a “farmer leader” because of her use of conservation agriculture. Photo credit: Patrick Wall/CIMMYT.

Grace Malaitcha, from Zidyana, Malawi is considered a “farmer leader” because of her use of conservation agriculture. Photo credit: Patrick Wall/CIMMYT.

Provoked by a dearth of discussion in peer-reviewed literature on the interactions between gender and conservation agriculture (CA), several CIMMYT staff and gender consultant Cathy Rozel Farnworth took on the challenge of reviewing the issues in eastern and southern Africa.

MAIZE CRP: Change and Transition in Second Generation

The CGIAR research program on MAIZE has made great strides in addressing challenges related to agriculture and food security in maize-based systems since its launch in 2012. Now nearing the end of its first cycle in 2016, the CGIAR intends to build on the success and lessons learned from MAIZE and the 15 other CRPS as they move into the second generation of CGIAR research programs. This second generation will form a new coherent, integrated portfolio with greater emphasis on interactions between programs – with eight agri-food system programs and five cross-cutting global integrating programs. These 13 new programs are designed to ensure a more coherent approach to CGIAR’s contribution to achieve targets laid out in the recently approved CGIAR 2016-2030 Strategy and Results Framework – addressing poverty, malnutrition and environmental degradation.

Image credit: CGIAR

Image credit: CGIAR

A CRP Director for MAIZE – B.M. Prasanna

The CGIAR program on MAIZE, CIMMYT and IITA are pleased to announce that MAIZE is to be led by a dedicated CRP Director to spearhead the international maize research agenda of CGIAR.

B.M. Prasanna, MAIZE CRP Director

Dr. B.M. Prasanna, MAIZE CRP Director

The CIMMYT Board, upon endorsement of the MAIZE Stakeholder Advisory Committee (StAC), has agreed to the CIMMYT Director General appointing Dr B.M. Prasanna as MAIZE CRP Director.

Vitamin A Orange Maize: A partnership between Agriculture and Nutrition Bears Fruit

By Yassir Islam
Guest blogger from HarvestPlusvitamin-a-orange-maize

Only 20 years ago, the idea that maize could reduce vitamin A deficiency (VAD) would have been summarily dismissed. Agricultural scientists were focused on increasing yields and developing more robust varieties that could withstand the constant assault of new pests and diseases. The idea of making maize and other staple food crops more nutritious by breeding in vitamins and minerals, a process called biofortification, was a novel concept. However, with the launch of HarvestPlus in 2003, a collaborative research partnership was launched to bring together scientists across disciplines in an effort to reduce hidden hunger caused by micronutrient deficiencies. One of the fruits of this partnership were the world’s first “orange” maize varieties rich in vitamin A. This ‘orange’ vitamin A maize has been conventionally bred to provide higher levels of provitamin A carotenoids, a naturally occurring plant pigment also found in many orange foods such as mangoes, carrots and pumpkins, that the body then converts into vitamin A.