Meat and dairy products are central to the Latin American diet, and livestock is a source of income for over 600 million people living on less than US $1 per day around the world. Historically, a lack of quality forage crops has restricted production and increased the environmental impact of livestock farming, with poor-quality grazing areas being created through deforestation.
Within the framework of the project on scaling flash drying technology, financed by CGIAR’s research program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB), CIAT through the cassava program will hold the workshop “Low-cost flash dryer for starch and cassava flour at small scale” from August 8 to 13 at its headquarters in Palmira, Colombia.
It is with deep regret that we have learned of the passing of CIAT emeritus Dr. Michael D.J. Thung, an Indonesian national who worked as a post-doctoral scientist at CIAT’s cassava and bean programs in 1975. In 1978, he joined full time the bean program, where he started evaluating advanced breeding lines for tolerance of aluminum and adaptation to low phosphorus levels.
As noted in a previous blog, a study conducted by CIAT confirms that cacao production is not a main cause of forest loss in Colombia, unlike in several countries in Africa and Asia. Instead, cacao cultivation forms part of strategies to reduce conflict and save forests in the Latin American country.
Due recognition deserve the scientists conforming the impact evaluation team of the Cassava Program at CIAT, who achieved the largest number of downloads during 2017-2018 of the paper: Household Determinants of the Adoption of Improved Cassava Varieties using DNA Fingerprinting to Identify Varieties in Farmer Fields: A Case Study in Colombia.
As global population grows so will demand for animal protein (Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving, 2009 ), making livestock farming intensification a central part to a sustainable food future. Breeding and mainstreaming of tropical forages are essential for improving productivity and lowering the environmental footprint while reducing the number of hectares dedicated to livestock production and the pressure over highly valuable ecosystems. This is a not only a priority in Latin America but in Africa and Asia as well, where the demand of forages with high nutritional quality and with resistance to different stresses is growing.
Biofortification, or the genetic improvement of crops for better nutritional value, is an effort that was born in 1994 under the guidance of World Food Prize laureate Howdy Bouis. Biofortification seeks to address micronutrient deficiencies, or “hidden hunger,” by breeding crops for higher concentration of essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin A in foods that people eat every day.
In further strengthening scientific cooperation, CIAT and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS) is establishing a Joint Laboratory in Advanced Technologies for Sustainable Agriculture in Beijing.
The adoption of farm mechanization in the agricultural production processes of crops, such as rice and beans, is one way in which the Agrobiodiversity Program at CIAT is seeking to comply with the goal of modernizing and optimizing breeding programs. A key factor to achieving this is increasing the evaluation areas for new lines, along with providing the most accurate yield estimate possible for these areas.
Crops such as bananas, potatoes and cassava are essential to food security in the world’s poorest regions. By 2050, their importance will increase, but climate change and population growth will put unprecedented pressure on production
About agrobiodiversity research at CIAT
CIAT develops more resilient and productive varieties of cassava and common bean, together with tropical forages for livestock. We also help improve rice production in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The superior crop varieties that result from our collaborative work offer many valuable traits, such as high yield and stress tolerance, which are vital for guaranteeing global food supplies in the face of rapidly rising demand, shifting disease and insect pressures, rampant environmental degradation, and the looming threat of climate change.
Director, Agrobiodiversity Research Area
This CIAT Blog was launched in January 2016. For articles related to agrobiodiversity prior to this date, visit our former blog. Please note the old AgBio blog is no longer updated.