In the opening ceremony on October 8, B.M. Prasanna, the Director of the Global Maize Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE), discussed the current situation of maize in Asia as well as the themes of the conference. A diverse range of relevant topics will be covered, from breeding for climate resilience in maize based systems and climate-smart agriculture to socioeconomics for greater impact. “Gender and social inclusion is an important issue not only for Asia, but for the entire world. Women play a very important role in our farming systems, but women’s access to improved inputs such as seed is very low. All communities, regardless of caste or creed, need access to these inputs,” he said. The need for scale appropriate mechanization and the importance of public private partnerships will also be discussed.
The new lines are specifically adapted to tropical/subtropical maize production environments in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and are freely available to both public and private sector breeders worldwide.
CIMMYT is pleased to announce the
release of a set of 26 new CIMMYT maize lines (CMLs). These CMLs were developed
by the CIMMYT Global Maize Program’s multi-disciplinary teams of scientists at
breeding locations in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia. These lines
are adapted to the tropical/subtropical maize production environments targeted
by CIMMYT and partner institutions. CMLs are freely available to both public
and private sector breeders worldwide under the standard material transfer
Access to optimal seed is vital for smallholder farmers to
achieve high quality crops that give the best yield possible, allowing them to
maximize financial and nutritional gains. Understanding and evaluating the
methods by which smallholders obtain their seed is fundamental to guaranteeing
farmers are receiving high quality seed that will support improved livelihoods.
The ‘Milpa Demonstration Garden’ outside the genebank offices is flourishing this year. Planted and managed by the CIMMYT germplasm bank staff, this project has been providing color and charm at the El Batan campus through the late summer for several years.
The motivation for the project is to provide a talking point
that links the rigorous science of CIMMYT’s largely monoculture-based research
work with traditional Mesoamerican polyculture, known as milpa. Typically, the milpa agricultural system is centered on
three main crops – often termed the ‘three sisters’ – maize, beans and squash.