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Building on Fifty Years of Collaboration, a Visit by Chinese Politicians to Cimmyt in Mexico Breeds New Opportunities for Tackling Global Agricultural Challenges

By Sarah McLaughlin

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs for China, Tang Renjian, visited CIMMYT headquarters on Thursday, 11 January, along with dignitaries from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) and the Embassy of China. Tang, the former governor of Gansu province in China, attended the site with the aim of building on collaborative scientific work between his country and CIMMYT through the Joint Laboratory for Maize and Wheat Improvement in China.

CIMMYT was delighted to host Tang to showcase the benefits of the CIMMYT-China relationship for wheat and maize, and to identify opportunities for sustained collaboration. The highly regarded minister was able to hear about work including genetic analysis service for agriculture and methods to close the gap between farmers and research, as well as to observe CIMMYT’s facilities and field experiments. The meeting laid the foundations for potential future CIMMYT-China projects in areas such as germplasm exchange, molecular breeding, climate-resilient technology, and training.

Bram Govaerts, director general of CIMMYT, said, “Showcasing our science to Tang is an exciting chance for CIMMYT and China to grow what is already a fruitful partnership, impacting millions of people globally.”

Exemplifying impactful global partnerships

Since 1974, the CIMMYT-China relationship has improved the lives of millions of people via numerous evidence-based scientific projects, with support from the Chinese Academy for Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). Through five decades of partnership, the collaboration has resulted in up to 10.7 million additional tons of wheat for China’s national output with a value of US $3.4 million.

CIMMYT’s contribution to China’s wheat and maize is significant. In terms of wheat, 26% of wheat grown in China has been derived from CIMMYT germplasm since the year 2000, with Chinese scientists adding more than 1,000 accessions to the CIMMYT gene bank. CIMMYT maize varieties have been planted on more than 1 million hectares in China, with the partnership responsible for the release of 13 commercial varieties.

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