CIMMYT 50 Day 3 Highlights Advancing Maize and Wheat Research for Development

Scientific innovations should be advanced in tandem with nutritional goals, training and public opinion, said speakers on the third day of CIMMYT's 50th anniversary celebrations in Mexico.

Olaf Erenstein, CIMMYT, and Eliud Kireger, Director General of Kalro chair the fifth session

Catherine Bertini, 2003 World Food Prize laureate, said that nutrition should be given a leading role in the breeding process.

"Let food be medicine" - Catherine Bertini

Hello Tractor founder Jehiel Oliver told the story of how CIMMYT research into scale-appropriate mechanization laid the foundation for his successful on-demand smart tractor service for Africa, “the Uber of tractors.”

(Right to left) Bram Govaerts, CIMMYT and Alfonso Cebreros Murillo, Maseca, chair a session on partnerships alongside Francisco Ramírez, representing the governor of Queretaro state Mexico.

Representatives of the governors of the Mexican states of Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico and Queretaro discussed their partnership with the MasAgro project.

"We must increase and support MasAgro’s work in our state to tackle the necessities of our production systems" - Fernando Castillo, Guanajuato

Representatives from four major agro-food companies discussed approaches to sustainability.

Clockwise from top left: Alberto Raich Ortega, President of Kellogg Mexico; Francis Perez, Director of Shared Value and Sustainability for Nestlé in Mexico; David Bello, Trading and Origination Director of Cargill; and Marco Antonio Sosa, Agribusiness director of Bimbo.
“Farmers in developing countries benefit more from genetically modified crops than farmers elsewhere" - Matin Qaim, University of Gottingen
Kevin Pixley, CIMMYT, chairs the seventh session

Neal Gutterson from DuPont Pioneer described plans to avert diseases such as Maize Lethal Necrosis disease in Africa using CRISPR-Cas, an approach that allows precise “editing” of genes.

Neal Gutterson and José Falck-Zepeda

José Falck-Zepeda from IFPRI said that while innovative technology is vital, success comes from tackling development initiatives from a “whole systems” approach.

“We find innovative ways to reject ‘facts’ we disagree with. If facts are not persuasive, how do we communicate about science?” - Tamar Haspel, Washington Post

“In the future, we still need CIMMYT,” said Chanming Liu of CAAS. “There are many challenges to produce sufficient food in China. We also need a new generation of maize breeders.”

Chanming Lui and Julie MIller Jones

Julie Miller Jones criticized the authors and public figures advocating wheat-free diets for non-Celiac disease or wheat allergy sufferers: “We have to stop picking on diets, the problem is us. We are eating too many calories.”

"Agricultural producers have to be change makers" - Andrés H. Vinicio Montiel Ibarra
Martin Kropff thanks organizers and contributors at the end of the event.

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