Jorge Mario Díaz, CEO at Agrosavia; Ruben Echeverría, Director General at CIAT; and Juan Lucas Restrepo, Director General at Bioversity International and designated Director of the Bioversity-CIAT Alliance, who signed the cooperation agreement seeking to create synergies with the strengths and complementarities of the three entities.
Research projects on plantain, banana, cocoa, pastures, restoration, circular farming, and Future Seeds are some of the initiatives that will set Agrosavia and the Bioversity-CIAT Alliance in motion with the cooperation agreement signed by both entities.
According to Juan Lucas Restrepo, Director of Bioversity International and designated Director of the Bioversity-CIAT Alliance, “this agreement seeks to formulate and implement research, development, and innovation projects with a high impact on the Colombian agricultural sector, generating synergies with the strengths and complementarities of the three entities.”
Restrepo spoke highly of this first agreement signed by the Alliance with a national institution in Latin America and the Caribbean. “Agrosavia has an enormous scientific and technical strength, as well as a very strong relationship with institutions and farmers, which allows it to mobilize and promote what is referred to as a technical change in agriculture. Our coverage is more regional and global, we have scientific knowledge networks that we want to pass on to Agrosavia and, on a reciprocal basis, we would like to learn from their high capacities to be able to achieve our global mandate and have a better impact with our work in other regions”.
One of the key collaboration areas of this agreement is on Musaceae, responding to a major challenge facing the region, with the arrival of Fusarium R4T, which includes data collection, analysis, and processing for the establishment of an early warning network and epidemiological studies on Fusarium R4T in Musaceae species, as well as strengthening plantain and banana seed production programs with a good sanitary, genetic, and physiological quality for smallholders in Colombia.
The action lines of the new agreement include the assessment of plantain and banana crop performance in the presence of Tropical Fusarium oxisporum R4T and the strengthening of plantain and banana seed production with good sanitary, genetic, and physiological quality.
“We want to provide an immediate answer to the underlying issue facing Latin America with the confirmation of the presence of Fusarium R4T. Through the strategy we are designing together and combining the different capacities we have, we are going to be able to provide a science-based response to this threat,” declared Jorge Mario Díaz, Executive Director at Agrosavia.
Other research areas relate to the strengthening of the cocoa supply chain, as well as restoration and bioremediation, under the frame of the National Ecological Restoration, Rehabilitation, and Degraded Land Restoration Plan of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.
Furthermore, Future Seeds includes research on phytosanitary diagnosis of seeds; temporary storage space for plant material in specialized rooms with temperatures ranging between -18 and 28°C; research regarding seed quality tests; the use of genomic technologies for the characterization of genetic resources; software platforms to manage data in genebanks; the use of the genetic diversity of crops and promoting options based on diversity as alternatives to chemical inputs.
Regarding circular farming, we aim at the optimization and use of biomass, the large-scale production of fertilizers such as compost from organic or secondary raw materials, in accordance with the circular farming model, transforming waste into nutrients for crops. Finally, we will continue conducting joint research on the improvement of pastures and fodder with an emphasis on beef and milk.
The agreement signed will run for five years.