The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Fundación Carlos Slim have announced a partnership in support of efforts by the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center CIMMYT) in Mexico to develop and disseminate higher-yielding, more resilient wheat and maize varieties.
CIMMYT has dedicated $25 million to a new research complex situated 20 miles from Mexico City, funded by Fundación Carlos Slim. According to a joint statement issued by both organisations, the new biotechnology facilities and enhanced research capacity on site will make it possible for scientists to develop seeds better able to tolerate heat and drought and have a greater degree of resistance to diseases and pests. Expanded training facilities will enhance CIMMYT’s ability to develop and deliver digital technologies including mobile technology to provide farmers with information about weather, market prices, and recommended practices for their crops. The overall aim is to increase farmer production in a sustainable way and improve food security. The Gates Foundation will work to ensure that the techniques, products and other resources developed through the research are donated or provided cheaply to maize and wheat farmers in Africa and South Asia.
“Bringing together the collective experience of our respective organisations, we can promote innovation to transform the lives of farmers in Mexico and around the world” said Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates. “Investing in agricultural development is one of the most effective investments we can make. It allows farming communities to become self-sufficient and prosperous by growing and selling more of what they produce”.
Carlos Slim added: “This alliance to promote research and development by CIMMYT, with the collaboration of national and international scientists dedicated to improved seed and generating more efficient techniques, is a step towards making this knowledge available to farmers everywhere, particularly small and intermediate scale farmers”.
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