Tropical forages and cassava, two crops that bring China and CIAT closer together
Tropical forages and cassava are the two key crops that have brought together, from South to South, the collaborative partnership between the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS) and CIAT for more than two decades. That time and the accomplishments achieved along the way provided the ground for Michael Peters, CIAT Forages Program leader; Rainer Schultze-Kraft, CIAT Emeritus Scientist; Jacobo Arango, researcher from the Center for International Migration and Development (CIM); and Tassilo Tiemann, CIAT specialist in forages and livestock production systems, to put forth innovative proposals in response to new challenges.
Productive, although short, the visit of the four researchers to CATAS headquarters in Hainan, China, from 5 to 11 January, aimed to make the most of the strengths and experience of both institutions in shaping research proposals for grasslands and legumes to be used as feed in China.
In fact, they are committed to submit two proposals to the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) by March 2014. Both proposals focus on the forage species Stylosanthes, a legume native to the tropics, which was taken from CIAT to China as a satisfactory alternative to feed livestock, such as pigs.
The first research proposal focuses on the capacity of Stylosanthes to inhibit nitrification and, in the same line, aims to assess its potential to be used as green manure, improve soil properties, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The second proposal is set out to determine if the legume has traits that will make it resistant to low temperatures, for cultivation during winter and in Chinese regions other than the tropics.
We look forward to receiving good news about the approval and launch of both initiatives within the next few months.
Cassava research, another opportunity to partner with CATAS
Two projects, jointly implemented by CATAS and CIAT, were launched in 2013. The first one, titled “Genome-wide association study towards modeling design breeding in cassava,” has two main objectives:
- Globally sharing a set of basic data for markers or haplotypes of main breeding straits to recommend a molecular design breeding model in cassava.
- Set up an enable platform for cassava breeders and training young scientists.
This project will apply not only CATAS and CIAT’s research capacities, but also those of other institutions, such as the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa).
In turn, the second project, whose implementation began recently and ends in December 2018, titled “Transcriptomic and proteomic evaluation of cassava germplasm resources and implications for efficient breeding,” addresses the development of a model to accelerate and further improve high-quality germplasm that can be applied in different industrial uses.
Written by Andrea Carvajal
Translated from Spanish to English by Victoria Eugenia Rengifo