CGIAR ExCo tours Agronatura

5 June, 2009 by (comments)

Hosting the Executive Council (ExCo) members at CIAT for their annual meeting this week has been a great pleasure. One of the highlights amid a busy schedule of meetings and discussions was a whistle-stop tour of the Agronatura Science Park, led by Joe Tohme.

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The first port-of-call was the forthcoming molecular biology laboratory – followed by a visit to one of AgroSalud’s biofortification labs to hear about the project’s important work to improve the nutritional content of staple crops such as rice and maize.

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Next stop was the Genetic Resources Unit, where a characteristically enthusiastic Daniel Debouck explained about the Unit’s 63,000 different accessions for cassava, beans and rice that make it the largest of its kind in the world. Then the group braved the afternoon heat to see cassava trial plots, and then the bush bean and climbing bean demonstration sites with expert insights from Steve Beebe and Matthew Blair.

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To conclude the tour, Andy Jarvis of the Decision and Policy Analysis Unit gave a presentation on the effects of climate change on staple crops in Africa and Latin America, and how cutting edge GIS modeling technology can help predict areas and crops under threat. The presentation provoked a good discussion, covering the importance of crop wild relatives, and why the Unit’s findings differ from those of the landmark IPCC report.

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Although the tour only gave a tiny snapshot of the important work being carried out by CIAT and its partners, the response from participants was extremely positive. We would like pass on our thanks to all involved for their help and support.

Keep checking the blog for regular updates on life at CIAT, the CGIAR and beyond.

The CCC Team.

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