Costa Rica hosted the training in plant breeding programs

Costa Rica hosted the training in plant breeding programs

Representatives from more than 12 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean attended a training in the city of San Isidro de El General, in Costa Rica, where they addressed the participation of local farmers in plant breeding programs.

The project responds to various needs but, in the case of our country, it is because the productivity of smallholder fields is affected by adverse climatic conditions, such as drought, floods, and extreme temperatures, in addition to soil impoverishment, caused by inappropriate agronomic technologies and practices, among others.

The project is called “Increase in yield and commercial potential of crops of economic importance,” which is part of the Regional Agreement on Cooperation for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARCAL ).

This initiative, which began in 2016 and will run until the end of 2020, aims to achieve advanced varieties and lines to improve crop yield and quality through the use of mutagenic agents. Therefore, part of the expected results is obtaining adequate genetic improvements in species, which allows them to face better the environmental crisis we are currently experiencing, worldwide.

During the meeting, the participating countries showed results of their research, highlighting Cuba, with the obtaining of new tomato varieties resistant to salinity and water stress conditions, achieved through the irradiation of seeds with gamma rays. Other species that also show promising results are the flower of Jamaica (Cuba) and Stevia (Paraguay).

Initially, this project ended this year. However, given the importance of the topic, as well as the long-term experimental nature of these strategies, the project is extended until 2020.

Daniel Villegas, a researcher from the Department of Nuclear Technologies of the Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission (CCHEN), said that “these types of instances are beneficial since they create and strengthen ties with researchers and institutions in the region, which have a common interest in promoting the use of nuclear techniques.”

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Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.