Colombia’s fruit “revolution” begins
An ambitious new project that could help transform horticulture in Colombia – by the power of knowledge alone – is underway.
From August 2010, fruit producers from all over the country will begin recording precise information about their farming practices. The aim is to build a detailed national knowledge bank to help them improve and increase production.
The Site-Specific Agriculture based on Farmers Experiences(SSAFE) project, by the Interntational Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and national partners Asohofrucol (The Association of Fruit and Vegetable Growers in Colombia), will initially focus on four high-value crops: plantain, mango, avocado and citrus fruits. It will encourage the participation of potentially thousands of farmers over the next three years, and include a wider variety of fruits.
“The SSAFE project treats each farm as a valuable experimental station in its own right,” said CIAT’s Andy Jarvis, leader of the institution’s Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA) program. “This means thousands of experiments take place across the country every day, from which many people can learn. ”
SSAFE will run novel computer simulations in order to interpret the vast amount of data collected, in order to produce specific recommendations about what to plant, as well as techniques for boosting both yields and sustainability.
“By enabling farmers to share knowledge and plant exactly the right crop for the prevailing topograpghy, soil and climate conditions, the project could revolutionise fruit production in Colombia,” he continued.
“It’s a highly innovative approach to agricultural research and development, and the perfect mix of technology and eco-efficiency.”
Jarvis will be joined by other CIAT scientists at the CIAT stand (no. 528) at the Agro Del Pacifico 2010 agricultural fair at the Centro De Eventos Valle del Pacifico in Cali, Colombia, for the next three days (29-31 July) to promote the SSAFE project.
You can see our announcement of the project on the CIAT blog:Fruit project could accelerate scientific research “by decades“.