Introducing the CIMMYT Annual Report 2018 Messages from the Board Chair and Director General

(Above L-R): Martin Kropff and Nicole Birrell.

Message from the Chair of the Board of Trustees

As CIMMYT entered the second year of its 2017-22 Strategic Plan, its research and partnerships continued to bear results across the globe and to improve the livelihoods of the world’s poorest.

The Board of Trustees saw an example of that impact during a day-long visit to the Mexican State of Guanajuato, in meetings with local partners and at demonstrations of locally-adapted experiments.

Nicole Birrell and Martin Kropff addressing MasAgro technicians, farmers and partners. Photo: F. Alarcon, CIMMYT.

CIMMYT continues to respond to a changing environment. The research-for-development dialogue is gravitating towards improved food systems supporting healthy diets that are sustainably produced and climate-resilient. Policymakers and leaders in the countries where CIMMYT works are prioritizing the diversified production of climate change-resilient crops on less land and with fewer inputs. The Center’s solutions are geared to meeting these priorities.

One constant is the threat of new pests and diseases. The Board is proud of CIMMYT’s role in the coordinated fight against Maize Lethal Necrosis, fall armyworm, and wheat blast disease.

CIMMYT Board of Trustees in 2018 (l to r): Neal Gutterson, José Ernesto Cacho Ribeiro, Bongiwe Njobe, William (Bill) Angus, Martin Kropff (Director General), Ramesh Chand, Nicole Birrell, Bob Semple, Feng Feng, Harry de Roo, Rita Mumm. Not pictured: Rafael Ambriz Cervantes, Raúl Obando Rodríguez.

CIMMYT was also an active contributor in the shaping of the 2019-21 CGIAR Business Plan and looks forward to participating in its execution.

In the face of funding partners’ changing priorities, CIMMYT is redoubling its efforts in coordinated resource mobilization, as well as enhanced proposal development and project management practices.

The Board was pleased to note significant strengthening of business processes both at headquarters and in the regional offices. This included capacity building, an enhanced governance framework, and improved systems including a reinforced Center-wide Risk Management Framework.

Prudent stewardship of the Center’s financial resources has preserved CIMMYT’s strong financial position despite funding uncertainties.

CIMMYT’s Board of Trustees acknowledges another year of sterling effort and strong achievements on the part of the Center’s staff, management, and worldwide partners.

Nicole L. Birrell, Chair, Board of Trustees

Message from the Director General

In response to shifting priorities of funding partners in 2018, the Center has pursued stability, organizational unity, efficiency, and strong science to make maize and wheat cropping systems more productive and durable.

Building on the release of a new wheat genome reference map, our researchers more precisely tagged genes for valuable traits, including disease resistance, heat tolerance, and grain quality, in more than 40,000 CIMMYT wheat lines.

While the maize-hungry fall armyworm spreads from Africa to Southeast Asia, CIMMYT joined with more than 40 partners in an international consortium advancing the fight against the devastating insect pest.

(L) Inspecting a maize field affected by fall armyworm, Zimbabwe. CIMMYT/Johnson Siamachira. (R) Foliar damaged by full grown larva Zimbabwe. CIMMYT/C. Thierfelder

In Mexico, a local initiative is connecting leading food-processing companies with farmers who, guided by CIMMYT and partners, are growing their maize, wheat, and other crops in resource-conserving, climate-resilient ways.

A CIMMYT-led study on gender has explored the lives and viewpoints of 7,500 men and women from farming communities in 26 countries, providing invaluable information that will lead to better productivity and food security.

Advances in those areas are also coming from the use of appropriate machinery and implements for efficient and climate-smart agriculture on small farms, as one result of CIMMYT-led initiatives in Mexico, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe. A manual developed with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations offers technical and business advice for local entrepreneurs of mechanized services, such as sowing or threshing, for smallholder farmers.

In a positive signal for seed companies and nutrition specialists, as part of taste tests in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania, consumers indicated their willingness to pay a premium for quality protein maize (QPM), which contains enhanced levels of the amino acids needed to synthesize protein.

2018 showed us that the only constants are the passion and values of our staff and partners, which help CIMMYT to have major impact on the livelihoods of smallholders and the poor. This Annual Report pays tribute to them.

Attendees at CIMMYT Science Week 2018. CIMMYT/ Alfredo Saenz.
Martin Kropff, Director General
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