Posts Tagged ‘CIMMYT’

New fall armyworm portal launched to help facilitate greater research collaboration

A fall armyworm eats a maize leaf. Photo: CABI.

A new Fall Armyworm Research Collaboration Portal has been launched to facilitate global research collaboration to help fight the devastating crop pest fall armyworm (FAW).

Developed by CABI in partnership with leading researchers and institutions, the portal is a free-to-access platform that enables the sharing of research data, insights and outputs, and includes a range of key features such as posting research updates, identifying collaborators, and posting questions to the community.

International program ushers in a new era of maize farming in Pakistan

Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) comes to a close but its impact lives on.

By Ehtisham Shakeel KhokharMike Listman and Muhammad Amir Maqbool

Participants at a February 2020 maize working group meeting of the Pakistan Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) with seed of maize parental lines shared by CIMMYT. (Photo: Awais Yaqub)

A unique consortium of global and Pakistan scientists has helped to drive the country’s recent growth in annual maize output to 6.3 million tons — nearly double the 2010 output — and energized the domestic production of affordable, quality seed of more nutritious and climate-resilient maize varieties.

The many colors of maize, the material of life

The use of corn husk as veneer has helped a town to preserve maize biodiversity, protect the environment and reduce migration.

Tonahuixtla, a small town located in Mexico’s state of Puebla, had suffered extreme environmental degradation due to deforestation and erosion. Agricultural land was in poor condition and the town had stopped producing many of their heirloom maize varieties, a loss to both biodiversity in the region and local culture. Poverty had increased, forcing many to migrate to bigger cities or to the United States for work. Those who were left behind, most of them women, had few ways to generate income to support their families.

Today, the story of Tonahuixtla is different. The town actively participates in reforestation and erosion-prevention activities. Landrace maize production is increasing, preserving the town and region’s biodiversity and customs. The residents have job opportunities that allow them to stay in their town and not migrate, all while preserving local biodiversity and protecting the environment.

What caused this change?

Corn husks.

Maize cobs and veneer made out of corn husks on display at an exhibition of the Totomoxtle project in Mexico City. (Photo: Denise Costich/CIMMYT)

Battling devastating viral diseases, also in plants

Maize lethal necrosis has taught us that intensive efforts to keep human and plant diseases at bay need to continue beyond the COVID-19 crisis

When a maize lethal necrosis (MLN) outbreak happened in Kenya in 2011, scientists knew they needed to act fast. This viral disease, new to Kenya, was decimating maize fields. Within a few years, the viral disease spread rapidly in eastern Africa, through both insect vectors and contaminated seeds. If the virus were to spread into southern or West Africa, it would spell disaster for the smallholder farmers across the continent who depended on maize as a staple crop and for their family’s income and livelihoods.