Posts Tagged ‘CIMMYT’

Highlighting innovation in Latin American maize agri-food systems

By Andrea Carvajal and Jennifer Johnson

Latin America is the birthplace of maize and home to much of its genetic diversity. Maize is a main staple food across the continent and plays an important role in local culture and gastronomy. However, maize faces many challenges, from climate change related stresses such as drought and heat to emerging pests and diseases. Maize experts, as well as scientists from other key crops, from around the world came together to discuss these challenges and how to solve them at the 23rd Latin American Maize Reunion and 4th Seed Congress, held October 7-10 in Monteria, Colombia.

Closing the yield gap: Why localized analysis matters

The effect of factors limiting production differs across regions, researchers observe.

By Nele Verhulst

General view of the experimental field in Lempira, Honduras. (Photo: Nele Verhulst/CIMMYT)

Populations in Central America are rising rapidly, but staple crop production seems unable to keep up with increasing food demands.

Maize yields are particularly low compared to other regions. Cumulatively, farmers in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua produce maize on nearly 2.5 million hectares, with a large proportion of these maize systems also including beans, either through relay cropping or intercropping. Though potential yields are estimated to be as high as 10 metric tons per hectare, average production remains low at around 2.28.

Fight against fall armyworm in Asia benefits from experience in other regions

Scientists mobilize African and Latin American knowledge to protect Asia’s maize.

By Vanessa Meadu

When the destructive fall armyworm arrived in Asia in the summer of 2018, scientists were not taken by surprise. They had been anticipating its arrival on the continent as the next stage of its aggressive eastward journey, driven by changing climatic conditions and international trade routes. The pest, native to North and South America, had invaded and spread throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa within two years, severely damaging billions of dollars of maize crops and threatening food security for millions of people. Asian countries would have to mobilize quickly to cope with this new threat.

Blue maize is all the rage, but are consumers willing to pay?

By Jennifer Johnson

Freshly made blue maize tortillas in a market in Texcoco, Mexico. Photo: Carolyn Cowan.

Step into supermarkets or restaurants in many parts of Mexico City and surrounding towns and you might see products made from blue maize – products which would not have been available just a few years ago. From blue corn chips to maize-based Mexican dishes such as blue tortillas and blue tamales, a beloved staple crop has taken on a new hue. But should breeders, millers, processors or farmer organizations invest in expanding the production of blue maize and blue maize products? Are consumers really interested, and are they willing to pay more?

These are some of the questions asked by researchers at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico. They set up a choice experiment study on blue maize tortillas to test consumer preferences and willingness to pay for this product.