Posts Tagged ‘Maize’

New CIMMYT pre-commercial hybrids for southern Africa

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is offering a new set of improved maize hybrids to partners in southern Africa and similar agro-ecological zones, to scale up production for farmers in these areas.

National agricultural research systems and seed companies are invited to apply for the allocation of these pre-commercial hybrids, after which they will be able to register, produce and offer the improved seed to farming communities.

January 3, 2019 is the deadline to submit applications to be considered during the next round of allocations. (Applications received after that deadline will be considered during the following round of product allocations.)

India’s first provitamin-A QPM maize hybrid: Vignesh Muthusamy

Vignesh Muthusamy was recently awarded the 2018 MAIZE-Asia Youth Innovators Award from the from the CGIARResearch Program on Maize (MAIZE) for his work on the development of biofortified provitamin A and quality protein maize (QPM) maize hybrids. A specialist in maize genetics and breeding, his research demonstrates the use of modern biotechnological tools in crop improvement. Vignesh is from a farming community in the Namakkal district in Tamil Nadu and isa scientist in the Division of Genetics, ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. In a recent interview, he discussed the challenges and opportunities facing maize in Asia, as well as the importance of nutrition and involving young people in maize-based systems.

Vignesh Muthusamy, one of the winners of the 2018 MAIZE-Asia Youth Innovators Award, speaks at the 13th Asian Maize Conference in Ludhiana, India. Photo: Manjit Singh/Punjab Agricultural University.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in maize-based systems?

I hail from a farming family and due to India being an agrarian-based economy, most of the rural household is involved in agriculture. Lack of access of nutritious food is one of the primary challenges causing severe socio-economic loss in the country and maize,with such diverse end uses as food and feed can serve as an effective means of delivering a nutritious diet while bolstering the economy.

Uncovering the genetic basis of adaptation to drought stress: Jie Xu

Jie Xu received the 2018 MAIZE-Asia Youth Innovators Award from the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) for her work on drought stress in maize root systems. Her work seeks to understand the genetic basis of plant adaptation to drought with a view to applying the findings to breeding drought-tolerant maize. Originally from Chengdu, in Sichuan Province, China, she is an Associate Professor at Sichuan Agricultural University. In a recent interview, she discussed the challenges and opportunities facing maize in Asia, as well as the importance of involving young women in agriculture and maize-based systems.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in maize-based systems?

Jie Xu is an
Associate Professor at Sichuan Agricultural University

I was born in the western rural area of China, where maize is widely cultivated, being one of our favorite crops. When I was a student in Sichuan Agricultural University, I joined the maize research institute for my bachelor’s degree in 2006 and began my maize drought tolerance research under the guidance of my mentor, Prof. Tingzhao Rong. Drought tolerance is a very complex trait – it takes us years to screen the typical tolerant/sensitive inbred lines and construct the suitable research populations.By studying the maize inbred lines, which exhibit different levels of drought tolerance, we explore their genome and transcriptome variations to understand the genetic basis of plant adaptation to drought. This knowledge can then be applied to breeding drought-tolerant maize. However, the more I learned, the more I realized how much I didn’t know and just how complex the drought-tolerance trait is.

Let’s make hunger history: Samjhana Khanal


Samjhana Khanal surveys heat-tolerant maize varieties in Ludhiana, India, during a field day at the 13th Asian Maize Conference. (Photo: Manjit Singh/Punjab Agricultural University)

KATHMANDU, Nepal — I feel humbled and honored to have been chosen for the 2018 MAIZE-Asia Youth Innovators Award. I want to thank my father and brother for never clipping my wings and letting me fly high. I want to thank my mother, who despite having no education, not being able to read or write a single word, dreamed of having a scientist daughter. Everyone has a story and this is mine.