CIMMYT 50 Day 1 Celebrating CIMMYT's Impact

The 50th anniversary celebration of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) kicked off with a field day at CIMMYT's headquarters outside of Mexico City, Mexico on 27 September 2016.

Although increasing food supply to meet future demand must involve pushing the boundaries on technological innovation, sustainability must always be first and foremost, said Martin Kropff, CIMMYT director general.

“We can’t afford to be complacent because the need is so immense, but we must be cautious in our application of research to consider farmer needs and the environment” - Martin Kropff

Kropff opened the event with a short video highlighting CIMMYT's achievements over the past 50 years and the cutting edge work being done today to improve food security around the world.

José Calzada Rovirosa, Mexico's Secretary of Agriculture, extended words of welcome from Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto to all guests present at the event, touching on the importance of CIMMYT’s work in maize and wheat science for Mexico and the world.

"The Mexican government is committed to continuing the promise we made 50 years ago to support CIMMYT and agricultural research in Mexico." - José Calzada Rovirosa

Current and former CIMMYT staff discussed the Center's origins and impacts on maize and wheat in keynote addresses.

Clockwise from top left: Sanjaya Rajaram, 2014 World Food Prize Winner ; Greg Edmeades, former CIMMYT Maize Physiologist; Hans Braun, Director, WHEAT and CIMMYT Global Wheat Program; and Derek Byerlee, Former CIMMYT Economics Program Director.
Director General Martin Kropff gives CIMMYT 50 guests a tour of the new CIMMYT museum.

Visitors were given the chance to learn firsthand about CIMMYT research and projects through demonstration visits to CIMMYT fields and labs.

CIMMYT 50 attendees learn about CIMMYT's work in maize and wheat improvement and sustainable intensification through visits to the fields, labs and the genebank.

CIMMYT was honored with the presence of the Ministers of Agriculture of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Kenya. Matia Chowdhury, the Minister of Agriculture of Bangladesh, discussed the importance of CIMMYT's work in maize and wheat to the food security of her country, and the growing threat of wheat blast disease.

“I do hope CIMMYT will undertake a special initiative to attack wheat blast in Bangladesh and other parts of the world.” - Matia Chowdhury

Sikander Hayat Khan Bosan, the Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Pakistan, thanked CIMMYT for their support in wheat and maize improvement and production in Pakistan dating back to the green revolution.

“Our collaboration with CIMMYT has not only grown but strengthened over the years.” - Sikander Hayat Khan Bosan

Willy Bett, the Minister of Agriculture of Kenya, discussed the close collaboration between CIMMYT and Kenya's national agricultural research systems that has led to more local seed companies and improved seed varieties fro Kenyan farmers, and prevented the country's maize sector from being wiped out due to deadly maize lethal necrosis disease.

"Thank you to CIMMYT for ensuring food security in my country." - Willy Bett

A video address from M.S. Swaminathan, geneticist and international administrator known as the “Indian Father of Green Revolution,” congratulated CIMMYT on their 50th anniversary and wished the Center continued growth in its scientific and social impact.

Clockwise from top left: Julie Borlaug, Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University; Rodolfo Rodriguez, President of Patronato farmers group in Sonora, Mexico talks about CIMMYT’s relationship with Mexican farmers; Director General Martin Kropff presents the audience with the new CIMMYT strategy.

CIMMYT 50 Fiesta

The first day of CIMMYT 50 came to a close with a traditional Mexican 'fiesta' to celebrate the Center's 50 years of turning research into impact. The celebration brought together former and current CIMMYT staff, as well as distinguished guests such as ministers of agriculture, donors and representatives of the many organizations that make up CIMMYT’s crucial network of partnerships.

Clockwise from left: Jeanie Borlaug Laube, daughter of Norman Borlaug, and John Snape, chair of the CIMMYT board of trustees. Lucila Osorio Ceniceros, a female farmer from the Mixe indigenous group of Oaxaca , thanks CIMMYT for their work to help smallholder farmers around the world. Martin Kropff, John Snape and Willy Bett cut into CIMMYT’s “birthday cake.” Maria Fernanda Reyes, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), presents CIMMYT and Martin Kropff a special commemorative gift.
CIMMYT 50 attendees and current and former CIMMYT staff meet and reminisce at the CIMMYT 50 fiesta.

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