Posts Tagged ‘Colombia’

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.

Young Innovator Viviana López Ramírez studies bacterial maize diseases to help farmers

Viviana López Ramírez uses her passion for biology to tackle agricultural challenges in her adopted country, Argentina. Originally from Medellin, Colombia, she forms part of a multidisciplinary team at the Institute of Agro-biotechnical Research (INIAB) at the National University of Río Cuarto, Argentina working to isolate and identify pathogenic microorganisms in maize in order to identify resistant lines for farmers. Viviana was recently awarded the MAIZE Youth Innovators Award 2019 – Latin America in the category of Researcher for her involvement in this work.

The awards, an initiative of the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE), seek to recognize the contributions of young women and men who are implementing innovations in Latin American maize-based agri-food systems. This is the third instalment of the awards, following Asia in October 2018 and Africa in May 2019. The awards ceremony took place at the 23rd Latin American Maize Reunion in Monteria, Colombia on October 9, 2019.

Viviana López Ramírez, center, receives the MAIZE Youth Innovators Award 2019 – Latin America from CIMMYT Maize scientists Luis Narro (left) and Felix San Vicente (right). Photo: Carlos Alfonso Cortes Arredondo/CIMMYT.

New zinc-biofortified maize hybrid provides improved nutrition for Colombian farmers

By Natasha Nagarajan

Colombian maize farmer inspects his zinc-enriched biofortified maize plants. Photo: HarvestPlus LAC.

A new zinc-enriched maize hybrid developed for Colombia by HarvestPlus with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) will provide added nutrition and financial security to rural farming families in the coffee-growing region of Colombia.

First zinc maize variety launched to reduce malnutrition in Colombia

by Jennifer Johnson

Left to right: Miguel Lengua, director general of Maxi Semillas S.A.S; Bram Govaerts, Latin America regional director at CIMMYT; Martin Kropff, CIMMYT director general; Howdy Bouis, interim HarvestPlus CEO; and Felix San Vicente, CIMMYT maize breeder at the launch of new biofortified zinc maize. Photo: Jennifer Johnson/CIMMYT.

A new zinc-enriched maize variety was released in Colombia on February 23 to help combat malnutrition in South America.

Zinc is an essential mineral that plays an important role in human development, but is not naturally produced by humans. Zinc deficiency can lead to impaired growth and development, respiratory infections, diarrheal disease and a general weakening of the immune system. In Colombia, an average of 22 percent of the population is affected by zinc deficiency. However in certain regions, such as the pacific coast and Amazonia, up to 65 percent of the population is deficient in zinc.