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Costa Rica could have a science and technology park for agricultural research
- The Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS), the Government of Costa Rica and CATIE are working on the proposal, which would focus on tropical crops such as coffee and cocoa.
September 11, 2019. In August, a delegation from the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS), led by Zhang Xue, international cooperation coordinator of the academy, visited Costa Rica and announced the proposal to create a Science and Technology Park for Tropical Crops in the country.
The proposal was presented to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the National Institute for Innovation and Transfer of Agricultural Technology (INTA, its Spanish acronym), the Chinese Embassy in Costa Rica and CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center), an institution with which CATAS has had a cooperative relationship for several years.
These actors discussed the scope of the project and the importance of the project for the country. In this sense, William Solano, CATIE researcher, explained that this park would be of great importance since it would turn Costa Rica into a center of high technology for agricultural research, which would improve the quality of tropical crops such as coffee, cocoa, cassava and vegetables.
In addition, CATAS researchers stated that they hope that the research conducted in this park can radiate and benefit other Central American countries such as El Salvador and Panama, hence the importance of working with CATIE, a regional institution, to achieve this goal.
According to Solano, during the visit the general aspects of the proposal were discussed and there is much interest in developing it; however, he explained that it will be necessary to study the complete proposal that CATAS will be sending in the coming days to know everything in detail.
Genetic improvement of coffee
On the other hand, CATAS and CATIE recently officially inaugurated a project to carry out a molecular characterization of some materials of the International Coffee Collection of the Center, which will allow to find traits with agronomic importance that can be used in the future for genetic improvement.
Specifically, this project will work on simplified genomic sequencing for coffee germplasm; complete genome association mapping of important traits, such as yield, resistance to rust, among others; and analysis of the genetic structure of the population or fingerprints for the main collection.
Plant Genetic Resources Specialist
Agriculture, Livestock and Agro-forestry Program
Karla Salazar Leiva
Information Technology and Communication