CIMMYT – 50 Years of Service to Maize and Wheat Farmers: Prof M S Swaminathan
Chennai, September 29, 2016: CIMMYT which is the Spanish abbreviation of the International Centre for Maize and Wheat Research, has helped to transform food scarcity into food surplus in the countries where they constitute staple crops. This has been done through breeding new high yielding varieties with a plant architecture capable of absorbing more sunlight, nutrients and water. The wheat work has been led by Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug and maize work was spearheaded by Dr Edwin Wellhausen. The material developed at CIMMYT had also a different physiological rhythm which made them insensitive to the duration of day light. This was done by making the selection at two different locations with different day length characteristics. CIMMYT, originally founded by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundation, with support from the Government of Mexico, soon became the flagship of wheat and maize research all over the world. The scientists of the institute through their dedicated work brought hope and cheer to the farmers who had earlier lost all hope of improving the productivity of these crops. The work led to Dr Norman Borlaug receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. In order to recognise the work of farm scientists, Norman Borlaug established the World Food Prize in 1986.
The past 50 years have witnessed enormous changes in agriculture. A major catalyst of this change has been CIMMYT. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary, we wish the institution continued growth in its scientific and social impact, CIMMYT is a good example of the power of multi-disciplinary and multi-locational science characterised by a clear objective of improving the food security of the nation and the livelihood security of farmers.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.