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International Experts to Covnene in Ludiana to Discuss Climate Resilience and Maize Productivity

Ahead of the three day, 13th Asian Maize Conference that kick starts in Ludhiana, on October 8, the joint conference organizers, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the ICAR-Indian Institute of Maize Research (ICAR-IIMR), Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) and the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) held a media briefing at Punjab Agricultural University today to apprise them about the need and opportunities for enhancing maize for food, animal feed, nutrition and environmental security in Asia. Addressing media persons at this pre conference event, Dr B.M. Prasanna, Director, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) referred to maize as one of the most important crops in Asia, alongside rice and wheat that provides important economic opportunities to small farmers. He added that despite the achievement of increased maize production in Asia, the demand for maize is expected to double by 2050, thereby putting pressure to keep up with ever-increasing and competing demands for food, feed and industry needs. Dr Prasanna revealed that constant climate change and biotic and abiotic stresses are placing constraints on maize production, further emphasizing the need for improved technologies and management practices. Therefore, continued investment in maize research for development (R4D) is required to ensure future maize production can meet demand.

While referring to PAU Vice Chancellor, Dr B.S.Dhillon as the father figure in field of maize, Dr Prasanna thanked him for his guidance and support towards organizing the conference in India after a period of ten years.

Dr Sujay Rakshit, Director ICAR- Indian Institute of Maize Research highlighted the tremendous opportunities that exist for innovations in maize breeding, precision agriculture, seed systems, and value chains, offering exciting prospects for future growth and development of maize in the region. He shared that the 13th Asian Maize Conference will focus on ways and means to enhance Asian farmers’ access to high-yielding, climate-resilient and quality seeds, along with climate-smart agronomic management practices. “The conference will honour Young Professionals for Agricultural Development with the 2018 Maize-Asia Youth Innovators Awards to recognize their contributions in maize based agri food systems,” revealed Dr Rakshit.

In his comments, Dr B.S. Dhillon remarked that the conference is an important platform to bring home the idea of shifting towards maize as an important crop of the region. “With the current scenario of food production and environment degradation, area under maize needs to be increased and its potential as animal feed should be worked on,” he stressed. Dr Dhillon congratulated Indian scientists, Dr Prasanna and Dr Rakshit for occupying gloriously responsible positions at the global level.

Dr N.S. Bains, Director of Research, PAU and event Co-ordinator expressed delight at maize occupying center stage at a time when climate change and environmental degradation are forcng experts to look beyond the rice- wheat cropping pattern.

The Conference is expected to draw around 275 participants from several maize-growing countries in Asia, besides experts outside the continent. The delegates come from a broad range of stakeholders, including researchers, policy makers, seed companies, service providers, innovative farmers, and representatives of several development organizations and funding agencies.


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