Posts Tagged ‘Latin America’

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.

Young innovator Carlos Barragan García is implementing sustainable maize systems for smallholder farmers

Carlos Barragan García works on soil fertility as well as inclusive business models for smallholder farmers working in maize agri-food value chains. He has a degree in agroecological engineering from Chapingo Autonomous University and collaborates with the MasAgro project in Mexico’s state of Oaxaca. Barragan was recently awarded the MAIZE Youth Innovators Award 2019 – Latin America in the category of change agent for his 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.

Carlos Barragan García, 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.

Young Innovator promotes the production and consumption of native maize in Mexico

Jose Esteban Sotelo Mariche is an agronomist from the coastal region of Oaxaca, Mexico with a specialization in food security and rural development. He works with smallholder native maize farmers, helping them to produce more maize using sustainable practices and to commercialize their native maize in local and international markets. Jose Esteban was recently awarded the MAIZE Youth Innovators Award 2019 – Latin America in the category of change agent for his 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.

Jose Esteban Sotelo Mariche, 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.

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.