ATMA project 2nd Phase launched

July 17, 2011

By P.H. Zaidi

The project launch for Phase Two of Abiotic Stress Tolerant Maize for Asia (ATMA) was held at the Institute of Plant Breeding, University of Hohenheim (UH) in Stuttgart, Germany during 30 May-01 June 2011. Phase One of the project, also known by its unabridged name, “Abiotic stress tolerant maize for increasing income and food security among the poor in South and Southeast Asia,” began in 2008 and is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

 The meeting was attended by scientists from collaborating institutions including India’s Directorate of Maize Research (DMR), Vietnam’s National Maize Research Institute (NMRI), the Institute of Plant Breeding at the University of Philippines, the University of Hohemheim (UH), and CIMMYT.

To begin the launch, UH’s Albrecht E. Melchinger welcomed all the participants with a recap of the over 20 years of collaborative research partnership between his institution and CIMMYT. M. Kruse, UH Dean of Studies, then gave an overview of the research activities at the Institute and its current collaborations with CGIAR institutions.

In the opening session, the participants discussed “Target environment and country perspectives,” with special reference to drought and water-logging prone maize growing areas in South and Southeast Asia. This was followed by country profiles during which a representative from each participating country gave an overview of their nation’s progress. tour of the facilities; including farm, seed storage, bio-gas plant, and farm machinery. Participants then visited the UH research station to see ongoing field activities focused on utilizing doubled haploid (DH) technology to advance maize. Participants were excited to learn about DH technique and see UH’s breeding facilities first hand. The meeting proved a wonderful success as the participants revisited the accomplishments of Phase One and solidified plans to make Phase two equally successful. Thanks to everyone who participated! Phase Two was kicked-off with an air of excitement as the meeting recapped the many success of Phase One, such as the development of new germplasm tolerant to drought and water-logging stress, the improvement of crop management strategies specifically tailored to abiotic stress-prone environments, QTL-mapping achievements, and socio-economic progress.

CIMMYT Senior Maize Physiologist P.H. Zaidi then switched the focus to the future of ATMA by discussing the objectives, project activities, outputs and intended project milestones of Phase Two.

The group discussed important components to Phase Two such as the project work-plan, the creation of an ATMA webpage, and the project budget and governance.

The third day was devoted to field visits, in which participants visited Dow Seeds, also in Stuttgart. The visit included a presentation on Dow’s global maize program and a tour of the facilities; including farm, seed storage, bio-gas plant, and farm machinery. Participants then visited the UH research station to see ongoing field activities focused on utilizing doubled haploid (DH) technology to advance maize. Participants were excited to learn about DH technique and see UH’s breeding facilities first hand.

The meeting proved a wonderful success as the participants revisited the accomplishments of Phase One and solidified plans to make Phase two equally successful. Thanks to everyone who participated!