Posts Tagged ‘CIMMYT’

Emergency seed project brings relief to drought-affected farmers in Ethiopia

July 6, 2016
Rameto Tefo lost his entire harvest to drought last year. Without the maize seed provided through the emergency seed project, he said he would have had to beg his neighbors to provide food for his two wives and eight children. Photo: E.Quilligan/CIMMYT

Rameto Tefo lost his entire harvest to drought last year. Without the maize seed provided through the emergency seed project, he said he would have had to beg his neighbors to provide food for his two wives and eight children. Photo: E.Quilligan/CIMMYT

ADDIS ABABA — As Ethiopia struggles with its worst drought in 50 years, farmers pin their hopes on seed delivered through emergency seed projects.

“The situation last year was so bad that we could only laugh or cry,” said Rameto Tefo, a smallholder farmer from Tsiaroa district in central Ethiopia. “We were highly affected by the drought and we are now reliant on the assistance of the government and organizations such as CIMMYT. Without the seed provided to us from CIMMYT through the emergency seed project, I would have had to beg from my neighbors or just plant grain and hope that it germinated.”

CIMMYT Maize Germplasm Bank: Activities and Accomplishments

maize bankThe 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.

The bank contains over 28,000 unique collections of seed of maize and related species from 88 countries. These collections represent the genetic diversity of unique native varieties and wild relatives of maize and are held under long-term storage for the benefit of humanity in accordance with the 2007 International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The collections are also studied and used as a source of diversity to breed for crucial traits such as heat and drought tolerance, resistance to crop diseases and pests, grain yield productivity and grain quality. Seed is freely shared on request to researchers, students, and academic and development institutions worldwide.

Action needed to adapt maize breeding to climate change, report shows

By Matthew O’Leary

Listen to a podcast of CIMMYT maize breeder Biswanath Das discussing the importance of adapting maize breeding and seed systems to climate change here.

Investment in accelerating the adaptation of maize breeding and seed systems to climate change is needed a new report finds. Photo: Peter Lowe/ CIMMYT

Investment in accelerating the adaptation of maize breeding and seed systems to climate change is needed a new report finds. Photo: Peter Lowe/ CIMMYT

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.

Tools that forecast the response of crops to different weather and climate conditions, coupled with crop yield modeling have enabled agricultural scientists to predict and formulate plans for potential future climate change.

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.