Jesús Aguilar Padilla, Mexico’s Subsecretary of Agriculture, said that CIMMYT is an important partner for SAGARPA in the pursuit of two objectives that President Peña Nieto considers a priority for Mexico’s agriculture: increase food production and alleviate poverty.
Mexico City, 4 December 2014.- The primary sector in countries like Mexico needs the value added by scientific research for rural development, especially the kind produced by young researchers working at Mexican and international research centers, such as the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).
This was the view of Jesús Aguilar Padilla, Sub-Secretary of Agriculture at Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA), who acknowledged the work of young agricultural scientist Bram Govaerts, conservation agriculture researcher at CIMMYT, in an event organized in Mexico City to celebrate the award that Govaerts received some days ago.
SAGARPA’s officer stressed that the leader of the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture (MasAgro) project was awarded The Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, Endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation, in Des Moines, Iowa, in recognition of the positive impact that MasAgro has had in Mexican agriculture.
The Government official explained that The Borlaug Field Award, as the prize is known, acknowledges the achievement of transferring science to the field in a way that generates higher incomes for farmers and environmental gains.
“SAGARPA and CIMMYT projects have achieved international recognition because we have been able to maximize SAGARPA’s bearing on public policy and participation in projects aimed at small farmers.”
Aguilar Padilla stressed that “CIMMYT is an important ally for SAGAPRA in the pursuit of two objectives that the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has considered a top priority for the country’s agricultural sector: increase food production and alleviate poverty.”
Bram Govaerts acknowledged in turn SAGARPA’s support and Mexico’s leadership for investing in research for agricultural development.
“I am certain that SAGARPA and CIMMYT can position Mexico again as an international benchmark in rural development,” said Govaerts.
The young CIMMYT scientist advocated for developing cross-sectional teams and offering technological menus that respond to farmer needs and offer the opportunity to innovate and adopt the solutions that are best adapted to their production systems.
Bram Govaerts claimed that The Borlaug Field Award did not acknowledge an individual but the huge effort of more than 150 MasAgro collaborators who develop solutions for agriculture and deliver results to farmers.
Commenting on the impacts that the program has had in Mexican agriculture, Govaerts explained that genetic research endeavors have identified maize varieties resistant to pests and diseases. In this way, “new varieties have been developed that can increase grain yields and produce and estimated value of over 2,200 million pesos.”
MasAgro’s leader at CIMMYT added that sustainable conservation agriculture practices contribute to mitigate climate change by significantly reducing diesel consumption in agricultural production and, as a result, CO2 emissions, and by increasing soil carbon sequestration. Mexico had the potential to produce 40,000 tons of high-quality seed of hybrid maize. In 2014, MasAgro’s impact area was close to 800,000 hectares.