The war between Russia and Ukraine, which began in February 2022, has reduced the amount of corn and wheat available in the world, so various countries concerned about the possible food crisis have sought advice from the International Center for the Improvement of Maize and Wheat (CIMMyT), headquartered in Texcoco, Mexico State. improving seed quality and technology transfer processes.
In an interview with Crónica readers, Dr. Bram Gowaerts, current Director of CIMMYT, explained that they are now seeking to take advantage of and share the experience gained through a technology transfer model called Más Agro, which was established in Mexico.
The scientist, who was born in Belgium but lives in Mexico, responded via video call to a question made by the newspaper during a flight stop from Zambia, Africa, where he was invited to explain CIMMYT’s operating model. which has been recognized for having developed,
The doctor explained that his technology transfer model includes the participation of universities, seed companies and producer organizations. All of them need work and trust. “Confidence comes when walking, but it runs away on horseback,” says the scientist and manager.
“I have just returned from Zambia, where the model of technology transfer that we were working on in Mexico, which we know as Más Agro, has generated a lot of interest, and the same from other governments that are keen to respond to rising food prices. Some of the countries affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war are hoping for CIMMyT to implement the model we developed in Mexico, and we hope that in Mexico we will also be able to accelerate its implementation.
“The model is not to isolate a dedicated team for technology transfer, but to have everyone who develops innovation and oversees research, starting with what we call demand, or with demand. There is a difference between demand and demand because there is a need in demand as well as the will to solve it. From the registered demand, we direct applied research, and then we have CIMMyT scaling specialists and specialists in establishing the right connections with those who can deliver these innovations to manufacturers.
¿Who is CIMMYT talking to?
“We have a model in Mexico in which studies are conducted, and then these studies are demonstrated on so-called controlled platforms, which are spaces in other research centers, such as the National Institute of Agricultural and Livestock Forestry Research (INIFAP), the University of Chapingo or the University of Antonio Narro, which usually compare different variants in this agroarchaeology. for manufacturers.
“This serves to provide an overview of how technology and innovation work, as well as how it works as learning platforms, to one day connect with trainers so they can see how different technologies work,” he says.
From there, CIMMYT works with manufacturers, where it compares, outside of a controlled environment, traditional practice with practice with new innovations. This feeds a large data generation system that tracks about 30,000 graphs today. The Centre then works with technical specialists from non-governmental organizations, as well as with private and public actors who use this knowledge in their daily lives to better perform their work.
“These can be small beds if they are private participants; or it could be Educampo if it’s an NGO; These can be technicians from the state or federal government who capture knowledge and bring manufacturers together. Then manufacturers are already introducing new technologies and innovations. We generate more data from it, and then there’s a whole word-of-mouth problem that we no longer control, namely the massive scaling that arises from that system. Thus, the system has, on the one hand, a connection between science and those who have found the technology; on the other hand, it has a physical training camp system, sections with producers, and a non-physical question, a rather mild one, which is a product of this environment of innovation,” Dr. Gowaerts explained.
CIMMYT, a non-political, non-profit scientific institution
Founded in 1943 on public and private donations from various actors such as the Mexican government and the Rockefeller Foundation, CIMMYT has achieved to produce and transfer 50 percent of the improved corn and wheat seeds used worldwide, drought-resistant.pests and diseases. There was born, in the 60s and 70s, the so-called Green Revolution, which increased grain production in areas of great famine and there worked the Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1970 Normal Borlaug.
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