Posts Tagged ‘CIMMYT’

The Molecular Maize Atlas encourages genetic diversity


Maize ears from CIMMYT’s collection, showing a wide variety of colors and shapes. CIMMYT’s germplasm bank contains about 28,000 unique samples of cultivated maize and its wild relatives, teosinte and Tripsacum. These include about 26,000 samples of farmer landraces — traditional, locally-adapted varieties that are rich in diversity. The bank both conserves this diversity and makes it available as a resource for breeding. (Photo: Xochiquetzal Fonseca/CIMMYT)

With so much germplasm to categorize, what’s the best way to label them? Seeds of Discovery is working on the answer.

Imagine walking through a grocery store, doing your weekly shopping. Everything seems normal, but as you pick up a can, there’s no label. There’s nothing to tell you what the product is, and now you can’t reliably choose anything to eat this week.

Women in seed systems in Africa: Sylvia Horemans

By: Rahma I Adam, Florence Sipalla, Pauline Muindi and Vongai Kandiwa

The maize seed sector in eastern and southern Africa is male-dominated. Most seed companies operating in the region are owned and run by men. Often access to land and financial capital can be a constraint for women who are keen on investing in agriculture. However, there are women working in this sector, breaking social barriers, making a contribution to improving household nutrition and livelihoods by providing jobs and improved seed varieties.

The gender team within the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Socioeconomics Program interviewed 9 women involved in the seed business in this region as part of a collection of stories that will be published as a book this May. In honor of International Women’s Day, held March 8, 2019, the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) and CIMMYT would like to share some of their stories to recognize these women—and many others like them—and highlight the important work that women do in seed systems in Africa.

This is Sylvia Horemans, and this is her story:

Sylvia Horemans started Kamano Seeds in April 2004 together with her late husband Desire Horemans. The company derives its name from a stream that runs through their farm in Mwinilinga, Zambia. Kamano means a stream that never dries, aptly describing the growth the company has enjoyed over the years, enabling it to capture 15% of the country’s seed market share.  Silvia became the company’s Chief Executive Officer in 2016. 

Machine learning for smarter seed selection to reduce risks for Mexican maize farmers

A Mexican farming family poses beside their maize harvest in Campeche, Mexico. Machine learning for smarter seed selection will help farmers get the right seed for their geograhic area, increasing yields. Photo: Peter Lowe/CIMMYT.

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and BioSense Institute jointly won the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture Inspire Challenge in 2018 for machine learning for smarter seed selection. This project, which is piloted with maize farmers in Mexico, will help ensure that farmers are getting the best seed variety possible for their farm, allowing them to reduce risk, save money and improve their yields and food security.