International event highlights Villa Clara’s perspectives on food crops.
Vanguard, December 13, 2016, Cuba.
The specialists, from 21 countries of Asia, Oceania, Africa, Europe, Central America and the Caribbean, selected Santa Clara and the demonstration areas of the Institute of Research in Tropical Viandas of Cuba, with the purpose of validating experiences in the cultivation of Malanga, of roots and tubers, for the production of food. Cuba is the seat, for the first time in America, of a meeting of the International Network of Edible Aroids. The event also emphasizes the harmful effects of climate change and the systematic absence of water for the irrigation of vital crops.
Agricultural experts from the International Network of Edible Aroids (INEA) chose Cuba for the first time, among the countries of the Americas, to hold an annual meeting to evaluate projects for the promotion and improvement of malanga cultivars, a tuber coveted in the world.
The harvests and consumption of that food before were part of the undervalued species. At present, they extend their nutritional values for human consumption, as a healthy food, and palliative to the adverse consequences of climate change. The specialists, from 21 countries in Asia, Oceania, Africa, Europe, Central America and the Caribbean, chose Santa Clara and the demonstration areas of the Tropical Viandas Research Institute (Inivit), in order to validate experiences.
Dr. Vicent Lebot, coordinator of the International Network of Food Aroids (INEA), highlighted in Santa Clara the contributions of the Institute of Research in Tropical Viands (Inivit), in its efforts to propagate sustainable agriculture and face the adverse consequences of climate change .
The agenda of the meeting included aspects of the improvement and propagation of the cultivars of taro, Colocasia esculenta and cocoyam or Xanthosoma sagittifolium, by their scientific names. Both viandas are considered safe foods with sources of minerals, antioxidants and healthy food, said Dr. Vicent Lebot, coordinator of the visiting group. He also pointed out that interest in the cultivation and marketing of malanga reaches the greatest dimensions in the world.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), highlights annual productions of more than 2 million tons, but the figures are higher, according to specific observations. He also stressed that appreciating the Inivit demonstration plantations in Santo Domingo is a privilege for specialists and farmers.
“The scientific experience is exceptional because there they transfer knowledge to other regions of the world in cultivars of cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas and fruit bananas, as well as fruit trees,” said. Sergio Rodríguez Morales, PhD in Agricultural Sciences and host director of the research center of Villa Clara, said that at a glance of forming the Aráceas Network, there is another universal perception of the need for development and root production, Tropical and subtropical rhizomes and tubers.
He added that the Inivit, which is about half a century old, has never succeeded in obtaining malanga hybrids, and now thanks to the coordination of the International Network, it has seed-crossing cultivars and clonal improvement systems that convert the tuber into Resistant to drought or pests and diseases.
Inivit also has one of the largest germplasm banks in the continent, as well as 125 cultivars of the Malanga Colocasia, and 104 of the Xanthosoma type, Rodríguez Morales said.
He also valued the possibilities of scientific exchange, collection of bibliographies and technological transferences that a meeting of experts of the world dedicated to the obtaining of a food of proven human value in the feeding of children, old and ill.
The delegation worked in plenary session to analyze the experiences gathered in 26 countries of the five continents, and emphasized the expansion of breeding grounds and genetic diversity to obtain seeds of higher agricultural yields.
The session that was dedicated to cross areas of the Inivit makes a theoretical report that will leave more exchanges of views on sustainable agriculture and the confrontation of diseases and pests that damage malanga plantations.
Similarly, the harmful effects of climate change and the systematic absence of water for the irrigation of vital crops in food and feed were emphasized.