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Bolivia and CIMMYT partner to boost sustainable grain production

July 15, 2014

By Ricardo Curiel/CIMMYT 

Nemesia Achacollo, Bolivia’s Minister of Rural Development and Land, joined CIMMYT Director General Dr. Thomas A. Lumpkin in the lobby of the Borlaug building during her visit earlier this year. The two signed a scientific collaboration agreement to strengthen food security in the Andean country last week in Bolivia.

Bolivia became the first  country in South America   to adopt the sustainable intensification strategy for agriculture that CIMMYT has used successfully in Mexico with the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture project (MasAgro), and in countries in Africa and Asia through similar projects. The project in Bolivia will develop new, high-yielding maize varieties adapted to the country’s growing conditions that will be commercialized by the local seed sector. The project also plans to develop and to transfer new technologies for sustainable farming practices based on conservation agriculture principles. “When combined, these factors account for higher and more stable yields, and contribute to mitigate agriculture’s impact on the environment,” said CIMMYT Director General Dr. Thomas A. Lumpkin.

The agreement was signed during the “Day of Collaborative Evaluation of Maize Research” organized by INIAF. Hans Mercado, INIAF Executive Director General, outlined the main activities planned for the three years of work that have been initially approved for the project. These include: analyses of  commercial and family agriculture  systems to improve their economic  and ecologic performance; breeding  of maize varieties adapted to  Bolivia’s growing conditions; advice  on the development of a seed  production system that includes  private and public players; and  capacity building and training of  human resources at different levels  of specialization.

The ceremony was hosted by Bolivia’s Minister of Rural Development and Land, Nemesia  Achacollo, who announced an  investment of US$ 350,000 per year  in the rural development project.  She noted that the agreement was reached following her visit to CIMMYT earlier this year, when she had an opportunity to see and learn about MasAgro achievements in Mexico. Achacollo also stressed that INIAF had already introduced two maize hybrids developed by CIMMYT that yield seven tons per hectare, double the average yield obtained in Bolivia.

“CIMMYT celebrates Bolivia’s vision and leadership in investing in research for rural development,” said Lumpkin. “We hope that more countries in the region will follow Bolivia’s example and adopt similar strategies to strengthen food and nutritional security while also protecting the environment.”

 


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