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Perspectives in Global Development Seminar Series: Spring 2022

Climate-focused research aims to help smallholder farmers adapt to climate shocks and to raise and maintain high yields profitably and, most of all, sustainably by reducing GHG emissions. At the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), we have undertaken extensive research on climate change adaptation and mitigation in maize and wheat-based systems across Africa, Asia and Latin America. The outcomes have been thousands of new high-yielding, heat and drought tolerant, pest and disease resistant, nutritious maize and wheat varieties, and conservation agriculture-based practices and technologies that increase soil nutrient and water use efficiency to reduce water, fertilizer and energy consumption at the farm level. In other words, advances in agronomic practices seek to increase resource use efficiency to help reduce GHG and adapt agriculture to weather variabilities and extreme climate events. Researchers at CIMMYT are confident that improved seeds combined with conservation and precision agriculture increase yields sustainably by reducing the emissions intensity of maize and wheat systems and preventing, in turn, further changes of land use for agricultural activities. With this purpose, CIMMYT scales out conservation agriculture-based sustainable intensification practices and technologies to accelerate a transition to the more efficient, resilient, inclusive and sustainable cereal systems that the world needs today.

This will be an in-person event in Emerson 135. A Zoom option is also available.

About the speaker

Govaerts is Director General a.i. (Secretary General and CEO) of CIMMYT and a A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell.

Specializing in bioscience engineering and soil science, Govaerts is renowned for pioneering, implementing, and inspiring transformational changes for farmers and consumers. Committed to meeting sustainable development challenges in agri-food systems, he brings together multi-disciplinary teams to stimulate change through multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral strategies. His leadership in scientific and development initiatives has inspired novel collaborations and resulted in improved nutrition, nature conservation, and national and international resilience and food security.

Govaerts has defined an integrated approach toward excellence in science for impact, carried out through partnerships emphasizing on capacity building. He is known for his energy, vision, and innovation in food products and production especially for small, rural farms. He integrates academic research with successful practices developed by real-world organizations, utilizing 21st-century social networking systems to move forward in his efforts. His work is geared toward transforming subsistence agriculture and failed farming systems into productive and sustainable production units. He is considered to be a major innovator in the agro-sustainability movement, embracing modern practices while integrating traditional farmer knowledge and efforts worldwide as a means to influence and guide the future of farming. These efforts are recognized as critical to rural livelihoods, food safety, nutrition, nature conservation, and regional and national security. 

Together with a group of scientists, trainers, extension agents, collaborative farmers and communications and technology specialists, Govaerts developed a vision inspired by Norman Borlaug’s motto “Take it to the Farmer” combining the right seed, with the right conservation agriculture production practice embedded in an integrated market while recognizing and integrating farmer knowledge.

Govaerts has co-authored over 90 peer-reviewed publications. He is a member of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and an A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. Govaerts is independent board member of Grupo CERES and comprised subsidiaries. He received the Norman Borlaug Field Award in 2014 from the World Food Prize Foundation. In 2020, Govaerts was elected as Fellow by The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) for his outstanding contributions to the field of agronomy. He holds a Ph.D. in Bioscience Engineering – Soil Science; a master’s degree in Soil Conservation and Tropical Agriculture; and a bachelor’s degree in Bioscience Engineering, all from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

About the seminar series

The Perspectives in Global Development seminars are held Wednesdays from 12:25 – 1:15 p.m. eastern time during the semester. The series will be presented in a hybrid format with some speakers on campus and others appearing via Zoom. Students, faculty and the general public are welcome to attend. The series is co-sponsored by the Department of Global Development, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the School of Integrative Plant Science as part of courses IARD 6960NTRES 6960PLSCS 6960 and AEM 6960. 

Date & Time

March 16, 2022
12:25 pm - 1:15 pm

Bram Govaerts

More information about this event.

Contact Information

Matt Hayes

  • mmh285 [at]


Department of Global Development

School of Integrative Plant Science

Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Natural Resources and the Environment

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