New report discusses maize’s relationships to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
is one of the most important cereals on Earth, especially in Africa and Latin America.
Not only is it a significant source of food for humans, but it is also valuable
as animal feed and is even used in biofuel. In a recently published paper in the journal Global Food Security, scientists from
the University of Wisconsin, Purdue University and the International Maize and
Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) discuss the importance of maize in relation
to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs lay out
requirements for improving the livelihoods of all beings on Earth, creating a
more sustainable future, and addressing issues such as climate change, social
inequality, poverty and peace. Maize is highlighted in this paper as a
prime example of a resource that aligns with and supports the SDG narrative in
many different ways.
The ‘Milpa Demonstration Garden’ outside the genebank offices is flourishing this year. Planted and managed by the CIMMYT germplasm bank staff, this project has been providing color and charm at the El Batan campus through the late summer for several years.
The motivation for the project is to provide a talking point
that links the rigorous science of CIMMYT’s largely monoculture-based research
work with traditional Mesoamerican polyculture, known as milpa. Typically, the milpa agricultural system is centered on
three main crops – often termed the ‘three sisters’ – maize, beans and squash.
The 2016 CIMMYT Annual Report details the strong partnerships and science through which MAIZE lead center CIMMYT creates and shares innovations for farmers to grow more, earn more and reduce environmental impacts, now and in the future. Highlights include:
Maize and wheat breeding speeds up to equip farmers with varieties for dryer, hotter climates, and to resist evolving pathogens and pests.
Scientists refute trendy claims disparaging wheat and promote the nutritional benefits of this vital food grain.
Growing partnerships, including the joint launch with Henan Agricultural University, China, of a new maize and wheat research center.
Dramatically expanded maize seed markets for Mexican farmers.
Use of zero tillage and other sustainable agriculture practices in southern Africa and South Asia.
In 2016, CIMMYT marked and celebrated 50 years of applying excellence in maize and wheat science to improve the livelihoods of the disadvantaged. With the commitment and continuous support of dedicated staff, partners and donors, the Center will continue contributing to a food- and nutrition-secure future for all.