To further help smallholder farmers, DuPont Pioneer and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) entered into a Master Alliance Agreement to improve crops using CRISPR-Cas advanced plant breeding technology.
The partnership was announced as part of CIMMYT’s 50th anniversary celebration in El Batan, Mexico.
“Working together with CIMMYT will enable smallholder farmers to benefit from technology like CRISPR-Cas, helping them solve their challenges,” Paul Schickler, president of DuPont Pioneer, said.
This collaboration is one of many between DuPont Pioneer and CIMMYT that have helped food security and the livelihoods of farmers and consumers in developing countries. CRISPR-Cas is a targeted plant-breeding method to develop healthy seeds using the best native characteristics available for a specific crop.
“In a world of rapid technology evolution, it’s essential that new approaches, such as CRISPR-Cas are applied widely to benefit both poorer and wealthier farmers,” CIMMYT Director General Martin Kropff said. “This collaboration with DuPont Pioneer will allow us to provide climate and disease resilient varieties more quickly to smallholder farmers in the developing world.”
The first project under the newly formed Pioneer-CIMMYT Steering Committee will be to apply CRISPR-Cas to maize lethal necrosis disease in Sub-Saharan Africa.
This disease, first identified in Kenya five years ago, reduces maize production by 3 percent in dry climates and 32 percent in wetter climates. The disease has spread to neighboring countries and affects approximately one-fourth of Kenya’s total maize production alone, which adds up to approximately $110 million in losses.
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