International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

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International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo
(CIMMYT)
The front gate of CIMMYT in El Batan, Mexico.jpg
CIMMYT in El Batan, Mexico
Formation1943,[1] 1966 and officially established in 1971
TypeNon-profit research-for-development organization [1]
PurposeTo develop improved varieties and sustainable farming methods of wheat and maize for improving livelihoods of the world's poor [1]
HeadquartersEl Batán, near Texcoco, State of Mexico, Mexico
Director General
Martin Kropff
Parent organization
CGIAR
Staff
1,600 staff members working throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America, and projects in over 40 countries [1]
Websitecimmyt.org

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (known - even in English - by its Spanish acronym CIMMYT for Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo) is a non-profit research-for-development organization that develops improved varieties of wheat and maize with the aim of contributing to food security, and innovates agricultural practices to help boost production, prevent crop disease and improve smallholder farmers' livelihoods.[1][2][3][4] CIMMYT is one of the 15 CGIAR centers.[5] CIMMYT is known for hosting the world's largest maize and wheat genebank at its headquarters in Mexico.[6]

CIMMYT's eighth director general, Martin Kropff,[7][8] replaced agronomist Thomas Lumpkin in 2015.[9] Lumpkin served as director general from 2008.[10][11]

Origins[edit]

The first steps toward the creation of CIMMYT were taken in 1943 when cooperative efforts of the Mexican government and the Rockefeller Foundation led to the founding of the Office of Special Studies, an organization within the Mexican Secretariat of Agriculture. The goal of the office was to ensure food security in Mexico and abroad through selective plant breeding and crop improvement.

The project developed into a collaboration between Mexican and international researchers. It established global networks to test experimental crop varieties. One of its researchers, wheat breeder Norman Borlaug, developed dwarf wheat varieties that put more energy into grain production and responded better to fertilizer than older varieties, won the Nobel Peace Prize for that work in 1970.[12] The program was renamed and morphed into CIMMYT in 1963, though it was still under the Secretariat of Agriculture's jurisdiction. As international demand grew and it became apparent CIMMYT required internal organization and increased funding, the center was reorganized and established as a non-profit scientific and educational institution in its own right in 1966.

In the early 1970s, a small cadre of development organizations, national sponsors, and private foundations organized CGIAR to further spread the impact of agricultural research to more nations. CIMMYT became one of the first international research centers to be supported through CGIAR. Today, CGIAR comprises 15 such centers, all dedicated to sustainable food security through scientific research.[1]

Activities[edit]

CIMMYT scientists support national research systems and work through small- to medium-scale seed enterprises to offer affordable, improved seed and sustainable farming methods to smallholder farmers. Though its headquarters are in Mexico, the center operates through 12 regional offices (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, Turkey, and Zimbabwe), as well as number of experimental stations.

CIMMYT’s researchers promote the sustainable intensification of farming systems, for example, through the use of machinery that allows for resource-poor female farmers in Africa[13] and South Asia[14] to reduce labor costs and conservation agriculture practices such as no-till farming,[15] which allows direct planting without plowing or preparing the soil.

CIMMYT hosts the largest collection of maize and wheat in the world:[16] 28,000 unique kinds of maize and 140,000 of wheat.[17] Materials are made available under the terms and conditions of the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing, using the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA[18]). A duplicate of these wheat varieties[19] is stored at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway. Through CIMMYT’s global breeding system and partner network, this genetic diversity is used to develop maize and wheat varieties that have higher yields,[20] and can survive climate stress and diseases.

Criticisms[edit]

Despite its noble goals of sustainability and self-sufficiency, one of the organization's founders and researchers, Norman Borlaug, has faced criticism. Borlaug's obituarist, Christopher Reed argued in an interview with The Guardian from 2014 that although his Green Revolution and high-yielding agricultural techniques averted poverty in the short term, in the long time they might have added to it.[21] Critics of CIMMYT argue that it is important to consider the social and ecological changes that the Green Revolution, and subsequently CIMMYT, create for local farmers. Dependency on expensive 'high-yielding' seeds that demand expensive fertilizers has pushed local farmers who cannot afford them out of the market, causing further social inequalities. The seeds, which require a lot of water, have also increased soil erosion and water wastage.[21] At the time Norman Borlaug began the Green Revolution, the US agricultural science establishment and agribusiness industries supported him because it allowed their industries to grow around the world as dependency on their patented seeds and herbicides increased.[21] Today, CIMMYT still relies on these private companies for seeds and herbicides, such as StrigAway.[22]

Partners and funders[edit]

Main funders include Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,[23][24][25][26][27][28] CGIAR, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), OCP Group and the national governments of Australia, Britain, Canada,[29][30][31][32] China, Germany,[33][34][35] Mexico,[36][37][38] Norway and the United States.[39][40][41][42][43][44]

Historically, CIMMYT received funding from the European Commission and the Rockefeller Foundation.[45][46][47]

Notable scientists[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "About us". CIMMYT. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Norman Borlaug - Nobel Lecture: The Green Revolution, Peace, and Humanity".
  3. ^ "Bread Wheat - Improvement and Production".
  4. ^ "FAO - News Article: FAO and partners ramp up efforts to track and prevent spread of damaging wheat rusts".
  5. ^ "Research Centers". CGIAR. Archived from the original on 12 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  6. ^ Estevez, Dolia. "Bill Gates And Carlos Slim To Partner On Reducing Hunger". Forbes. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Center Directors General / CGIAR / About Us / Our Governance". Cgiar.org. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Innovation key to wheat yield potential advances, says in-coming CIMMYT DG | CIMMYT. International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center". Cimmyt.org. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Martin Kropff / CGIAR / About Us / Our Governance / Center Directors General". Cgiar.org. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Dr. Thomas Lumpkin Receives the 2014 Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Hawaii". Wsm.wsu.edu. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Thomas Lumpkin of AVRDC new CIMMYT DG | CIMMYT. International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center". Cimmyt.org. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Norman Borlaug - Facts". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Two wheel tractors assist Zimbabwe and Ethiopia farmers grow yields and income". The Zimbabwe Mail. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  14. ^ "Innovative approaches to including gender within agricultural mechanization". Feed the Future USAID. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  15. ^ "Alternatives to burning can increase Indian farmers' profits and cut pollution". EurekAlert. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  16. ^ "Inside the world's largest wheat and maize bank". www.abc.net.au. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  17. ^ "Pandemics aren't limited to people: How the world's most famous seed vault defends plants against their next big outbreak". The Counter. 21 May 2020. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  18. ^ Noriega, Isabel López; Halewood, Michael; Abberton, Michael; Amri, Ahmed; Angarawai, Ijantiku Ignatius; Anglin, Noelle; Blümmel, Michael; Bouman, Bas; Campos, Hugo; Costich, Denise; Ellis, David (2019). "CGIAR Operations under the Plant Treaty Framework". Crop Science. 59 (3): 819–832. doi:10.2135/cropsci2018.08.0526. ISSN 1435-0653.
  19. ^ "Pandemics aren't limited to people: How the world's most famous seed vault defends plants against their next big outbreak". The Counter. 21 May 2020. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  20. ^ Staff Reporter (1 July 2020). "Two wheel tractors assist Zimbabwe and Ethiopia farmers grow yields and income". The Zimbabwe Mail. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  21. ^ a b c Vidal, John (1 April 2014). "Norman Borlaug: humanitarian hero or menace to society? | John Vidal". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  22. ^ "A New Twist on Seed Technology". Feed the Future. 28 January 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Search - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation". 18 October 2005. Archived from the original on 18 October 2005.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  24. ^ "OPP1134248".
  25. ^ "Helping Poor Farmers, Changes Needed to Feed 1 Billion Hungry - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation".
  26. ^ Administrator. "Climate-ready maize gets a boost: Phase III of the drought tolerant maize in Africa project to reach more farmers".
  27. ^ jb755 (25 January 2017). "Cornell receives UK support to aid scientists fighting threats to global wheat supply".
  28. ^ "$24M grant aims to combat global wheat crop threats - Cornell Chronicle".
  29. ^ Canada, Employment and Social Development (10 June 2014). "International agreement to focus on improved durum wheat disease resistance - Canada.ca".
  30. ^ Canada, Research Branch;Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada;Government of. "Scientific Cooperation with International Organizations".
  31. ^ Government, Open. "Government Grants and Contributions".
  32. ^ Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada;Government of. "The Making of Wheat Warriors: Canadian Wheat Stands Out".
  33. ^ GmbH, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). "Project data".
  34. ^ GmbH, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). "Project data".
  35. ^ GmbH, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). "Expertise. Projects".
  36. ^ "Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture, MasAgro".
  37. ^ "CIMMYT: 50 años de impulsar el maíz y el trigo".
  38. ^ "50 Aniversario del CIMMYT".
  39. ^ "USAID-OFDA Agriculture and Food Security Sector Update, Fiscal Year 2016". 12 October 2016.
  40. ^ "International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) 50 Year Celebration - Opening Remarks by USAID Kenya and East Africa Mission Director Karen Freeman - Speeches & Testimony - Kenya - U.S. Agency for International Development".
  41. ^ "U.S. Launches 'Agricultural Innovation Program'".
  42. ^ "Seeds of Change: Growing Hill Maize Sustainably in Nepal". 11 March 2015.
  43. ^ "Ethiopia Complex Emergency Fact Sheet #5 - March 3, 2016 - U.S. Agency for International Development". 19 August 2016.
  44. ^ "Center Analysis". CGIAR. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  45. ^ "100 Years: The Rockefeller Foundation - International maize and wheat improvement center (CIMMYT)". 29 September 2013. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  46. ^ "Our History - A Powerful Legacy :: The Rockefeller Foundation". 1 January 2013. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  47. ^ [1]
  48. ^ "Norman Borlaug - Biographical". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  49. ^ "Dr. Borlaug & The World Food Prize - The World Food Prize - Improving the Quality, Quantity and Availability of Food in the World". The World Food Prize. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  50. ^ "2014 - Rajaram - The World Food Prize - Improving the Quality, Quantity and Availability of Food in the World". The World Food Prize. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  51. ^ a b "2000: Vasal and Villegas - The World Food Prize - Improving the Quality, Quantity and Availability of Food in the World". The World Food Prize. Retrieved 4 March 2017.

External links[edit]