- Successfully combatting aflatoxin in Kenya’s food with Aflasafe on a large scale
Aflatoxin has resulted in deaths, widespread contamination of food, animal feed and milk, and destruction of maize.
- Seed certification critical to quality seed production
Seed certification is a rigorous process of testing new maize varieties before they are made available to farmers .
- Fall Armyworm devastates crops in sub-Saharan Africa: A quick and coordinated regional response is required
The recent appearance of the fall armyworm, an insect-pest, which causes damage to more than 80 crop species in 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, poses a serious challenge and significant risk to the region’s food security.
- Can drought-resilient maize take pressure off African farmers?
Is drought-resilient maize an answer to pressure on African farmers through climate change? The Center for Development Research (ZEF) organised a panel of experts to address this topic in Bonn, Germany.
- New CGIAR Research Portfolio tackles growing complexity of agricultural development challenges
CGIAR has launched a new portfolio of research programs designed to reduce by 150 million the number of people who do not have enough food to eat in developing nations.
- Global experts and stakeholders meet to develop fall armyworm emergency plan and management strategy for Africa
Smallholder farmers in eastern, southern and western Africa are facing a major threat to their crops from the fall armyworm, which has so far damaged almost 300,000 hectares of maize.
- Maize breeding on track for climate change in Africa, scientist urges bigger investments
A comprehensive study of genetic gains in eastern and southern Africa shows that with appropriate funding, maize yields can continue to increase in extreme heat and drought conditions.
- Tackling aflatoxin, the killer poison in Africa’s food
Aflatoxin in food was among the prominent issues discussed at the recent First All-Africa Postharvest Congress and Exhibition held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 28th to 31st March 2017.
- Increasing genetic gains in maize through integration of novel tools and technologies
CIMMYT is organizing a two week international training course on increasing genetic gains through integration of novel tools and technologies, for maize breeders in Nairobi, Kenya.
- Ph.D. Research projects ‘Linking African Smallholders to Dynamic Markets’
The Development Economics Group at Wageningen University, CIMMYT and IFPRI are searching for three PhD researchers for complementary PhD projects on innovations that help African smallholders establish linkages to input and output markets.
- New selection method allows for rapid development of improved maize varieties
Marker-assisted recurrent selection (MARS) is helping maize breeders develop higher yielding and drought-tolerant improved varieties faster than ever before
- New maize hybrid shows resistance to stem borers in South Africa
Smallholder farmers in South Africa can now access and grow new maize varieties with transgenic resistance to stem borers, the most damaging insect pest of maize.
- Tackling the deadly fall armyworm infestation devastating maize in southern Africa
Smallholder farmers in eastern and southern Africa are facing a new threat as a plague of intrepid fall armyworms creeps across the region, so far damaging an estimated 287,000 hectares of maize.
- Q+A: Scientist Thokozile Ndhlela inspires girls in Africa to embrace agriculture careers
Little did 47-year-old Thokozile Ndhlela know that growing up in a rural area in Zimbabwe would inspire her to become a well-respected agricultural scientist, helping to transform agriculture by developing science-based solutions.
- Study reveals diversity “blueprint” to help maize crops adapt to changing climates
Scientists have unlocked evolutionary secrets of landraces through an unprecedented study of allelic diversity, revealing more about the genetic basis of flowering time and how maize adapts to variable environments.
- New cycle of maize lethal necrosis germplasm screening to begin at Kenya site in May 2017
The first screening activity for the 2017A planting cycle from March to May is set to begin in May 2017 at the joint KALRO–CIMMYT MLN artificial inoculation screening site at Naivasha, Kenya.
- Scientists harness efforts to increase use of stress tolerant maize by smallholder farmers
More than 100 research partners and funders will meet to discuss ways to encourage Africa’s seed sector to replace old maize varieties with new, robust and more resilient varieties
- New reports shed light on maize seed sector functioning and adoption
The Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) looks at seed sector functioning and the adoption of improved maize varieties in India, Malawi, Mexico and Zambia.
- As temperatures soar, Zimbabwe's farmers test maize that can cope
"Now that the climate has changed, it is time for farmers to change too," researchers say.
- Spotlight: MAIZE in Africa
Since its introduction to the continent in the 1500’s, maize has become a major staple crop in Africa as well as an important component of rural livelihoods.
- Weeding out the losses: Striga challenges in Kenya
Every planting season presents a different kind of challenge for smallholder farmers, and for those in Siaya’s Alego sub-county in Western Kenya, the nightmare of a recurring crop-killing weed is all too real.
- Available now: The 2015 MAIZE Annual Report
2015 marked a year of exciting advances in scientific research and strengthened partnerships for the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE).
- Learning from 8,000 people to integrate gender into agricultural research
With its twisted cables and flickering computer screens, the room commandeered by the GENNOVATE study team at CIMMYT looks more like a Silicon Valley hackathon than what most would understand as gender research.
- Ancient Maize Varieties Provide Modern Solution to Tar Spot Complex
In southern Mexico and Central America a fungal maize disease known as tar spot complex (TSC) is decimating yields, threatening local food security and livelihoods.
- Drought-tolerant maize a boon to farmers in Zambia hit by El Niño
Drought-related challenges in Africa call for proactive interventions rather than reactive ones. Every so often a drought hits, jolting the development community into action
- Emergency seed project brings relief to drought-affected farmers in Ethiopia
As Ethiopia struggles with its worst drought in 50 years, farmers pin their hopes on seed delivered through emergency seed projects.
- CIMMYT Maize Germplasm Bank: Activities and Accomplishments
The CIMMYT maize germplasm bank is the lifeblood of many MAIZE activities, preserving the genetic diversity that is necessary to develop improved maize varieties farmers need to feed a growing population in a changing climate.
- Action needed to adapt maize breeding to climate change, report shows
Breeding and seed systems must be adapted to survive projected climate change if major loss of maize yields is to be avoided, a new report shows.
- Maize seed systems in Africa: Understanding the basics
Maize is not only a staple in diets across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) – it is a cash crop that supports millions of farmer households.
- Maize: From Mexico to the world
For Mexicans, the “children of corn,” maize is entwined in life, history and tradition. It is not just a crop; it is central to their identity.
- IWD 2016: Super women of Africa
For International Women’s Day 2016, CIMMYT and MAIZE celebrate women farmers in Africa, who through their resilience, bravery and commitment have weathered challenges in maize farming to put food on the table.
- Initiative sheds light on how gender inequality influences capacity for agricultural innovation
An international team of CGIAR researchers will delve deeply into the causes of gender disparity in the agricultural sector with a $1.1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Could conservation agriculture help mitigate climate change?
In the densely populated areas of South Asia on the Indo-Gangetic plains (IGP) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), climate change threatens to pose an enormous risk to food security.
- Red root marker creates new opportunities for DH breeding
Doubled haploid (DH) technology provides important benefits to maize breeding programs, as DH lines enhance genetic gains and improve breeding efficiency in addition to offering significant economic advantages.
- Agricultural Innovation for Pakistan: New High-yielding Maize Varieties
Several new high-yield maize varieties have been introduced for commercial use in Pakistan this past week, lauded as the “first ever type of maize innovation in Pakistan,”
- Of maize farmers, coming calves, waxing oxen, and comely camels: a Tanzanian tale of triumph over tribulations
About her last maize harvest in August 2015, Valeria Pantaleo, a 47-year-old wife and mother of four from Olkalili village, northern Tanzania, waxes lyrical: “I finally managed to buy a calf.
- Farmers’ Critical Role in Fight to Prevent Spread of MLN
In the fight to prevent and control the spread of maize lethal necrosis (MLN) across Eastern Africa, the support and cooperation of everyone involved in maize production is crucial—especially farmers.
- Gender norms, agency and agricultural innovation in Mexico
In over 125 agricultural communities in 26 countries, a field study of gender norms, agency and agricultural innovation, known as GENNOVATE, is now underway. A team of researchers from CIMMYT carried out the first GENNOVATE fieldwork in Mexico in 2014.
- MAIZE CRP Book Celebrates Mexico’s “Secret Scientists” on International Day of Rural Women
Rural women play a critical role in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.
- 16 new CIMMYT maize lines released
16 new maize lines have been released, adapted to tropical/subtropical maize production environments.
- New Videos Highlight the Benefits of Nixtamalization
The CIMMYT Global Maize program, with funding from the MAIZE CRP, recently produced a series of videos on nixtamalization, the process of cooking and steeping dried maize grain with water and lime.
- Maize Lethal Necrosis: Building a comprehensive response
Maize lethal necrosis disease poses an existential threat to maize production in east Africa, and is spreading rapidly elsewhere. MAIZE CRP is spearheading a response on all fronts.
- Do women benefit from conservation agriculture?
Provoked by a dearth of discussion in peer-reviewed literature on interactions between gender and conservation agriculture (CA), CIMMYT staff and gender consultant Cathy Rozel Farnworth review 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.
- A CRP Director for MAIZE - B.M. Prasanna
Dr. B.M. Prasanna has been chosen to lead MAIZE as CRP Director, alongside current MAIZE Program Manager Dave Watson.
- Vitamin A Orange Maize: A partnership between Agriculture and Nutrition Bears Fruit
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
- Promoting the careers of women scientists in CRPs MAIZE and WHEAT
In order to produce the best research, scientific institutions need to become more diverse and equitable themselves. MAIZE CRP has commissioned a study into how.
- The Skywalker Project: Soaring to New Heights
Though its name implies science fiction, Skywalker’s results have been incredibly real. A small, unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with remote sensing devices, Skywalker flies over maize fields collecting images and data.
- Opinion from The Field: Conservation Agriculture in Africa: Where Does It Fit?
The controversial debate among researchers about the suitability of conservation agriculture for smallholder farmers in Africa continues while rural inhabitants in Africa face food insecurity and degrading resources.
- Gender Analysis of Small-Scale Farm Mechanization in Ethiopia and Kenya
A Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) study funded under the Competitive Grant Initiative of the MAIZE CRP, “Gender Matters in farm Power,” investigates how gender matters in small-scale farm power mechanization in African agriculture
- MLN Diagnostics and Management in Africa through Multi-Institutional Synergies
Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) disease has continued to wreak havoc on maize production in East Africa since it was first reported in Kenya in 2011
- India has Potential to Become Export Hub for Maize in South East Asia
Delegates at the India Maize Summit 2015 held in New Delhi, 9-10 of April 2015, gathered to discuss the future of India as an export hub for maize throughout South East Asia.
- Gennovate: Coding the CRP Global Study on Gender Norms
[caption id="attachment_4647" align="alignright" width="300"] Diana López, Principal Research Assistant & Data Manager (first from left), Patti Petesch, Expert Advisor (second from left), Nadezda Amaya, Regional Gender Research Specialist (CIP-RTB); (fourth from left), and Lone Badstue, Strategic Leader, Gender Research (fifth from left) stand with prospective coders at the closure of the workshop. Photo: Jorge Mendez, CIMMYT.[/caption]
Patti Petesch, Lone Badstue and Diana López of CIMMYT’s gender unit gave a training workshop at El Batán, Mexico, during 7-17 April on systematic content analysis and coding for the Global Study on Gender Norms, Agency and Innovation in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management, or “Gennovate.” A collaborative initiative of 13 CGIAR research programs, this global qualitative field study will reach approximately 125 villages in 25 countries worldwide, according to Badstue.
“This will provide coders with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to systematically analyze the voices, perspectives and experiences of the women and men from ...
- KALRO and CIMMYT: A Longstanding Mutually Beneficial Partnership
This week, CIMMYT had the honor of hosting Dr. Eliud Kireger, the Acting Director General of the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).
- MAIZE and WHEAT Global Gender Study: coding large-scale data to reveal the drivers of agricultural innovation
MAIZE and WHEAT CRP investigators from the global cross-CRP study on gender in agricultural innovation met at CIMMYT headquarters in El Batán, Mexico from 26 Feb to 1 March
- Mary Ann Sayoc on Chairing the StAC and the Importance of Partnerships
We interview Mary Ann Sayoc on her perspectives as Chair of the MAIZE Stakeholder Advisory Committee and her views on public-private partnerships
- Presidential Award in Recognition of Critical Breakthrough in Maize Breeding in Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwe Maize Breeding Programme was honored on Friday, February 13 2015, as the 2014/2015 Presidential Award winners in agricultural research during a ceremony attended by more than 1,500 people.
- USAID’s Feed the Future Initiative Highlights CIMMYT Heat Tolerant Maize Breeding
The Feed the Future initiative of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) featured CIMMYT’s Heat Tolerant Maize for Asia (HTMA) project in a recent newsletter, highlighting it as an exemplary public-private partnership.
- Index Insurance to Safeguard Farmers from Climate Change
"We've got the germplasm and improved varieties, but how do we overcome farmer adoption?" Crop-index insurance may be the solution.
- Booming Maize Demand and Industry Opportunity in Asia
Maize agronomists from Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan jointly published a study examining the outlook for maize in their respective countries.
- Extension Bulletins Raise CA Awareness for Malawian Farmers
A MAIZE CRP-sponsored project has produced three extension bulletins to spread awareness of the benefits that different conservation agriculture techniques could have for farmers in Malawi.
- 15 Ways to Improve Maize Production in Asia
The official recommendations of the 12th Asian Maize Conference have been announced, revealing the roadmap to a more food-secure future through maize production.
- Honoring the Life and Legacy of Wilfred Mwangi, CIMMYT Agricultural Economist
The CIMMYT community celebrates the illustrious life and mourns the passing on 11 December of Wilfred M. Mwangi, distinguished Kenyan scholar, statesman and researcher.
- Improved Maize to Boost Yields in Nitrogen-starved African Soils
In 2014, partners in the Improved Maize for African Soils (IMAS) project developed 41 nitrogen-efficient maize varieties for release in nine African countries through 24 seed companies.
- International Breeding for Success in Asia
For Walter Trevisan, Germplasm Enhancement of Maize (GEM) Steering Committee Chair, the transnational history of maize breeding offers several important lessons for maize breeders today.
- Research, Reorganized
Agricultural research is changing. In order to have a greater impact, research must be relevant to a greater variety of farmers in different contexts, while being both applicable and adaptable.
- Gender Matters in Farm Power
The goals of the Farm Power and Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification (FACASI) project are to address the issue of declining farm power in eastern and southern Africa, and reduce the labor burden that comes with low farm mechanization, by promoting small-scale mechanization based on two-wheel tractors
- The role of gender transformative approaches
The persistence of gender disparities in access to resources, markets and technologies, even after decades of research and interventions, calls for a gender transformative approach, says Paula Kantor, WorldFish Senior Gender Scientist and keynote speaker at the 12th Asian Maize Conference to be held in Bangkok next October 2014.
- MAIZE Recognizes the International Day of Rural Women
15 October 2014 marks the sixth celebration of the International Day of Rural Women. MAIZE acknowledges the importance of understanding and recognizing the important role of women in agriculture in its research and programs.
- CSISA: Making a Difference in South Asia
Staff members of the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) are developing and implementing projects aimed at improving agricultural production and standards of living for farmers in South Asia, with excellent results.
- MAIZE CRP 2013 Annual Report: Now Online
As part of our efforts to communicate the progress of our partners in MAIZE CRP in a more inclusive and effective manner, we have produced an entirely online version of our 2013 Annual Report.
- Maize Yields in West Bengal: Linking the Socio-Economic with the Biological
The purpose of the study was to investigate the key factors limiting maize productivity in the Malda and Bankura districts of the Indian state of West Bengal, in order to develop effective crop and nutrient management strategies to reduce the yield gap in the region.
- World Food Prize Honors CIMMYT’s Bram Govaerts with the “2014 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application”
The prize is given each year to an individual for exceptional, science-based achievements in international agriculture and food production.
- Bringing Drought Tolerance to Maize in Asia
Drought is an important threat to production, in the largely rainfed agriculture practiced in Asia, a problem in common with farmers in Africa and Latin America. In response to this need, several projects are underway to introduce drought-tolerant maize varieties adapted to the many different growing conditions found in Asia.
- 12th Asian Maize Conference Program
The 12th Asian Maize Conference will be held on 30 October-1 November 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. See the third circular and how to attend here.
- MAIZE CRP Annual Report 2013
The MAIZE CRP annual report for 2013 has now been released, highlighting 11 particular successes in another exciting year.
- Turbo-charging the breeding process
To accelerate the breeding cycle and continually develop the improved wheat varieties needed to meet global needs, novel approaches are needed to extend conventional selection methods.
- Amazing maize: International crop research benefits SSA
Research on maize improvement by international agricultural research centers and partners in SSA is increasing harvests in the region and enhancing farmers’ lives.
- A digital “green” platform
Digital Green’s idea to film and screen 'best practice' videos of farming techniques across villages in India has won over both farmers and the government.
- New Atlas of African Agriculture Research and Development illustrates maize prospects in SSA
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has published a new set of maps and analyses — the Atlas of African Agriculture Research & Development.
- Cereal production in China: Keeping up with increasing demand
An article published in the May 2014 edition of the Journal of Cereal Science explores cereal production in China since the year 2000 and the future challenges posed by climate change.
- Agricultural input subsidies may help reduce the gender gap in modern maize adoption in Malawi
A study published in the April 2014 edition of Food Policy investigates the gender gap in modern maize adoption in Malawi and whether or not Malawi’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) had influenced this gap.
- Challenging our built-in gender bias
In order to understand gender-based dimensions and differences in MAIZE and to leverage this knowledge so that interventions can better address gender-specific needs, MAIZE undertook a gender audit of its activities in 2013.
- Models can help farmers decide how to adapt to climate change
Farmers in most of southern Africa can expect to see lower yet more erratic rainfall challenge their ability to grow crops, according to a majority of predictions on the effects of climate change. This could spell great hardship for populations already vulnerable to food security, whose demand for key crops such as maize will only increase in the future. New drought-resistant varieties can go some way to help them adapt, but only by combining them with new cropping systems will their challenges be overcome.
In a study published in the November 2014 issue of Soil and Tillage Research, a team of researchers set out to test whether crop simulation models can identify the best farming practices to counter the effects of climate change. Traditional experiments are expensive and time consuming; given the limited resources available to researchers, modeling is seen as a viable way of ensuring that farmers in differing agricultural ...
- Angola: Shifting from landraces to improved maize varieties
CIMMYT, in partnership with the Instituto de Investigação Agronómica (IIA), the Angolan national agricultural research institute, is helping the country shift from using maize landraces to locally adapted materials.
Angola is rebuilding its infrastructure after a prolonged civil war that slowed down agricultural production. During the war, farmers could not access improved maize seed and relied on landraces. “After the war, they started shifting from the landraces to open-pollinated varieties (OPVs),” explained Peter Setimela, CIMMYT seed systems specialist. “Five years ago, there were no improved maize seeds in Angola. Now, we have some good OPVs and hybrids.”
The country has been importing improved maize varieties from Brazil and France, though not without problems. “They discovered that some of these varieties were hampered by diseases such as gray leaf spot, maize streak virus and northern leaf blight,” said CIMMYT breeder Cosmos Magorokosho.
Working in partnership with IIA breeders, CIMMYT scientists have been testing materials ...
- Spreading the gift of knowledge among women farmers in Bihar, India
Kisan Sakhi, meaning “a woman farmer friend,” is an initiative jointly started by the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) and the Bihar Mahila Samakhya (Indian government program on women’s equality) that aims to disseminate new climate-resilient and sustainable farming technologies and practices to help empower women farmers in Bihar. Six areas have been identified - Bochaha, Bandra, Aurai, Gai Ghat, Musahri and Kudhni - in the district Muzaffarpur for the pilot work.
CSISA has introduced new technologies to more than 300 Kisan Sakhi members such as improved weed management, intercropping in maize, intensification of cropping systems with summer green gram, machine transplanting of rice under non-puddled conditions and management of community nurseries. CSISA also aims to support champion women farmer entrepreneurs, who could deliver custom hire services for community nurseries and machine transplanting.
Contrary to a common perception that women in agriculture are not empowered decision-makers, about 15 percent of the group members identified themselves as ...
- New maize hybrids for DR Congo on the horizon
Efforts to improve the productivity and production of maize in DR Congo have received a boost as trials across the various agroecological zones in that country show promising results.
Dr Silvestro Meseka, IITA Maize Breeder who is back from the field, reports that the results are the product of a collaborative research project on the introduction of improved maize hybrids and varieties that was initiated by IITA in early February 2013 under the CGIAR Research Program MAIZE. First, two senior technicians were invited and trained after which hybrid and variety trials of different maturity groups for evaluation at Mvuazi (Bas Congo), Kipopo (Katanga), and Ngandajika (Kasai- Oriental) were deployed.
According to him, the main purpose of this research was to evaluate and identify high-yielding, adaptable maize hybrids and varieties for release to farmers that will contribute to food security as well as increase income of maize-growing smallholders in DR Congo.
Maize hybrids ...
- CIMMYT - Wheat Communications Officer
We are seeking a highly skilled and motivated candidate for the position of Communications Officer to support the Global Wheat Program (GWP). The selected candidate will be a member of the International Communications Department and report to the Director of International Communications but will work directly with the GWP Director and members of the GWP staff to prepare, review and edit scientific papers for publication in refereed journals and project proposals, help formulate project documents that meet reporting requirements of donors and promote the GWP and its various projects.
Closing date: 28 March 2014
View full profile and apply.
- CIMMYT - Agricultural Engineer (Global Conservation Agriculture Program)
We are seeking an experienced Agricultural Engineer to join an innovative USAID funded agricultural R4D project focused on efficient surface water irrigation, scale-appropriate mechanization, and conservation agriculture, to sustainably intensify cropping systems in Southern Bangladesh. The five-year $13 million project activities are being implemented in collaboration with International Development Enterprises (iDE), and will integrate and build upon synergies created with the already operational Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) in Bangladesh project. As Agricultural Engineer, you will work to implement and applied research and extension program in partnership with public and private sector partners centered on the use of efficient and scale-appropriate agricultural machinery to intensify dry season cropping in Southern Bangladesh.
Closing date: 28 March 2014
View full profile and apply.
- IITA - Head, Biometrics and Statistics Unit
IITA is looking for a suitably qualified person to fill the position of Head, Biometrics and Statistics Unit. The Biometrics and Statistics Unit has a research and service role for IITA across all our locations and programs. The appropriate design, database development, and analysis of experiments are a key function for the science of IITA and this unit is critical to the quality of this science. IITA works in a wide diversity of research areas with a diversity of quantitative, qualitative, and spatial statistics. The Head of this unit will need to give leadership in this area and to manage the activities of its staff across IITA.
Closing Date: The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.
View full profile and apply.
- IITA - Farming System Analyst
We are looking for a suitably qualified and enthusiastic person to fill the position of Farming System Analyst who will lead the efforts of IITA in relation to farming system analysis activities in the West and East/Central African Action Areas of the Humidtropics. The Farming System Analyst will work in close cooperation with other institutes engaged in this research area and report to the Director for Central Africa and NRM of IITA.
Closing Date: 15 November 2013 or until suitable candidate is found
View full profile and apply.
- IITA Visiting Scientist – Maize
The successful candidate will be part of the HarvestPlus project team and assist in the development, testing and dissemination of maize germplasm with enhanced levels of pro-vitamin A and zinc to partners. In addition, she/he will help identify sources of novel alleles associated with enhanced concentrations of pro-vitamin A from adapted and introduced maize germplasm and utilize molecular markers to introduce the alleles into maize germplasm with different genetic backgrounds and adaptive traits.
Closing Date: The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.
View full job profile and apply.
- MAIZE Newsletter launched!
On 6 March, 2014 the first edition of the MAIZE newsletter was sent out to a list of potential subscribers. It can be viewed online here. If you would like to receive this newsletter to your inbox, take a moment to subscribe.
We have also added a LinkedIn account to our growing social media profile. Follow us to join the conversation as we post our stories throughout the month.
- The Hill Maize Research Project brings 'new hope' to women farmers in Nepal
Capable of being grown on sloping fields, without need for terracing or irrigation, maize is a vital crop in the mid-hills of Nepal, particularly among poorer families and disadvantaged groups. It accounts for 20 percent of calorie intake in the country, and is typically grown in small fields (average land holding in the hills is half a hectare) by families who spend 75 percent of their income on food. Harsh climate, poor infrastructure and market access, and worsening shortages of labor, are just some of the challenges they face, with crop yields also constrained by poor access to a supply of quality seed. In recent years, however, work by the Hill Maize Research Project (HMRP) is helping to address these constraints and have a positive impact on farm productivity.
Since 1999, the project has been working with national research and extension partners, non-governmental organizations, private seed companies and farmers to develop, ...
- Who benefits from effective grain storage in eastern and southern Africa?
Globally, about one-third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. In developed countries, much of that loss is the result of consumers throwing away millions of tons of edible food each year. But in the developing world, most loss occurs either in the field before a crop is harvested, during harvest and handling or afterwards in storage.
In Eastern and Southern Africa, maize provides food and income to more than 300 million smallholder farmers in the region. After harvest, farmers typically remove maize grains from the cobs by hand, dry them in the sun and then store them in sacks kept in their home, in a shed or a traditional store. A considerable proportion of the crop may have already been lost in the field through pests and diseases. But once in storage, it is still vulnerable, particularly to insect pests such as the larger grain borer ...
- The farming systems decalogue: Trade-offs at different scales
Farming communities re-shape the landscapes they depend on, with a potentially strong impact on the agro-ecosystem. Efforts to intensify cereal production must take account of the potential trade-offs, and the opportunities opened by an integrated systems approach. The ATTIC project proposes 10 principles for farm systems analysis.
By Pablo Titonell, Professor of Farming Systems, Wageningen University
The Agro-ecosystem Diversity, Trajectories and Trade-Offs for Intensification of Cereal-based systems (ATTIC) project, a collaboration between MAIZE CRP and Wageningen University in the Netherlands, is studying the past and present trajectories of farming systems in three countries – Ethiopia, Mexico and, Nepal – to help research have a greater impact in the future through new technologies, practices and policies. A key dimension of the project studies the interactions between farming systems and the landscape, with farms both contributing to and benefiting from landscape features and services, including water flows, soils and biodiversity.
Societies value agricultural landscapes in different ways ...
- IPNI: The right surce of nutrient, at the right time, at the right place
In 2013, IPNI launched the 4R project to develop and promote best fertilizer management practices. The 4R concept appears simple: apply the right source of nutrient, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place (detailed guidelines can be found in IPNI’s 4R Nutrient Stewardship Framework). Implementation, however, is both knowledge-intensive and site-specific.
The 4R pilot project site is in western Kenya, an area where, despite strong evidence of the potential to intensify maize productivity, farmers and extension agents lack information on how to do this. Working with farmers and the Ministry of Agriculture, the project is providing access to information through field-based learning centers, and demonstrating the importance of various nutrients – both macro and micronutrients – in the production of major crops. Gender-sensitive participatory approaches are used to ensure active participation and learning among women, who represent the majority of farmers involved. The pilot is ...
- Can men and women benefit equally from agricultural innovation?
“We’re in charge. Women know very well how to farm here,” explained patiently a young woman from San Gabriel de las Molinas, a hillside village three hours west of Mexico City where maize is critical to local livelihoods. Part of a focus group discussion that CRP MAIZE was facilitating, the woman was directly challenging a question suggesting that the village men were more productive farmers than the women. Indeed, this was not an ordinary focus group about local farming. This was part of the first pilot exercise to get the data collection tools ready for exploring gender norms and capacities for agricultural innovation in potentially 60 other villages around the world.
It is well known that agricultural innovation is critical to reducing poverty. Men and women can benefit simply from improvements to their wellbeing in terms of health, nutrition or income. But innovations can also sometimes lead to women’s empowerment, better ...
- What can agricultural policy learn from a more gender-equal world?
Kenyan women are crucial to the country’s agricultural economy, contributing 54 percent of agricultural labor-hours. Widowhood, reduced marriage rates and labor migration have led to female-headed households (FHHs) becoming significantly more common in Africa. A recent study conducted in Kenya also shows that FHHs are twice as likely as their male counterparts to suffer chronic food insecurity.
Any successful agricultural policy must address gender imbalance, and for countries like Kenya that cannot easily find more land for agriculture this is an alternative way to increase production. The January 2014 CIMMYT Socioeconomics Program Policy Brief – “Food security as a gender issue: Why are female-headed households worse off compared to similar male-headed counterparts?” – discusses these and other recommendations for agricultural policy in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa.
It is known that women in agriculture suffer from less access to land and education (and fewer resources in general), in addition to having to ...
- Making the right (fertilizer) decision with Nutrient Expert®
In South Asia, 90 percent of smallholder farmers using fertilizer do not achieve optimum crop yields due to a lack of access to soil testing services. In response to this information gap, the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) South Asia Program developed the Nutrient Expert® decision support tools in partnership with MAIZE CRP to provide location-specific fertilizer recommendations for farmers growing maize and wheat.
In February 2014, the tool received the award for Best Innovation at the Bihar Innovation Forum II, which recognizes innovations to improve rural livelihoods in India. Nutrient Expert® is the product of close collaboration with key partners such as national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES), seed and fertilizer industries, non-governmental organizations, farmers’ and women’s self-help clubs in India.
“The advantage of developing the Nutrient Expert®in a participatory mode was that the partners were on-board from day one and ultimately ‘owned’ the innovation,” said Dr. Kaushik Majumdar, Director ...