China launches new CIMMYT-Henan Agricultural University joint maize and wheat research center
Jan. 12, 2017
|Martin Kropff, CIMMYT director general, and Zhang Gaiping, president of Henan Agricultural University sign a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint maize and wheat research center in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province on Jan. 9, 2017|
A new maize and wheat research center in China’s historic Yellow River Valley will serve as a top-level international resource facility for collaborative research and training.
The center was officially initiated with an agreement signed between the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and Henan Agricultural University (HAU) by Martin Kropff, CIMMYT director general, and Zhang Gaiping president of HAU on Friday in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province. The center is hosted by Henan Agricultural University and funded by the province of Henan. CIMMYT will recruit four senior-level scientists in genomic-bioinformatics and physiology-crop management and up to eight locally recruited junior scientists.
“This collaboration gives a major boost to the strong CIMMYT-China relationship that was awarded and recognized on January 9th with the China International Cooperation Award in Science and Technology by the Chinese government,” Kropff said. “We are delighted with the new agreement, which will allow research continuity and provide a model other countries can emulate.”
“This new center will give support to HAU’s international scientific contributions to wheat and maize research,” Zhang said. “HAU is internationalizing and this center will help to enhance the impact of research in farmers’ fields as well in Henan, China and internationally.”
The collaboration with CIMMYT will allow China and the province to play a greater international role in improving livelihoods and to become actively involved in training for less developed countries. The initiative, including a joint laboratory for maize and wheat improvement, will operate under the umbrella of the memorandum of understanding between HAU and CIMMYT It will be fully integrated with current CIMMYT global activities around the world.
Farmers in Henan, China’s largest agricultural province, produce crops from two wheat-maize planting rotations each year. The area produces about 6 million hectares of wheat and over 3 million hectares of maize, equaling around 25 percent of Chinese wheat production and 10 percent of maize production.
Henan Agricultural University has two national platforms, including the “Higher Education Innovative Capacity Improvement Program for Grain Crops,” which from 2013 to 2016 had an annual budget of more than $9 million, and the “National Key Laboratory for Wheat and Maize Biology,” jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology, which from 2013 to 2016 had an annual budget of around $1 million.
The platforms are dedicated to scientist training and research, discipline development and technological innovation in grain crops, providing support for the sustainable increase of crop yield, the improvement of agricultural efficiency and the growth of farmers’ income in the region.
Kropff and CIMMYT China Country Representative Zhonghu He visited the university to meet the provincial vice governor to discuss the principals of the agreement in August 2016 at which time a draft agreement was first signed.
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