A year ago the FLAR expanded its frontiers with the openning of the Regional Office for Temperate Zone located in the installations of the National Institute of Agricultural Research (IRGA) at Treinta y Tres, Uruguay. Greater interaction and better following of the rice improvement activities at the programs of the members of Argentina, Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Chile and Uruguay have been some of the advantages of the presence of the breeder Yamid Sanabria in the zone. However the work just begin and new challenges are emerging in the FLAR’s impact horizon for the Southern Cone.
A great year
While accelerating the process of genetic development was one of the primal motivations to open the Regional Office the most important advance this year has been the rapprochement and collaboration with the members at the Southern Cone. The constant presence and interaction have change the dynamics of the genetic development programs for the temperate zone and made possible carry out constant technical visits and activities that allow directing the objectives towards the real needs of researchers and producers.
“Being in the Southern Cone has made me easier to know the FLAR’s members programs from the inside. Every country, every breeder has some ideas, and knowing those closely allows the FLAR to be a network that integrates all. In that way we can take more advantage of the data richness about germplasm we are working with”, explains Yamid Sanabria.
Four countries, nine institutions and thousands of hectares are the influence area of the Regional Office. The members of ADECOAGRO in Argentina, IRGA in Brazil, INIA, FIA, FEDEARROZ, CAROZZI and TUCAPEL in Chile, ACA and INIA as host partners in Uruguay agree indicating about the benefits of the presence of the FLAR in the Temperate Zone.
“The strengthening of relations between technicians has exceeded expectations, which means there is a close contact throughout the work flow. What we saw that we could be obtained from being a member of FLAR and HIAAL it is more accessible now, then the dynamics of exchange are maintained”, emphasises Walter Cardozo, manager of rice business at ADECOAGRO – Argentina.
“To IRGA it was very important the openning of the regional office because we have a very skilled FLAR technician, much closer to us who has helped us validate not only FLAR materials but also our materials”, explains Mauricio Fischer, technical director of IRGA – Brazil.
“Having a person permanently in the area has changed clearly the dynamic of relationship and work between FLAR’s members“, says Gonzalo Zorrilla, director of the National Rice Program of the INIA, Uruguay.
“We believe this step allows for a much more focus and strict monitoring of the breeding work plan that are being carried out at all stages”, said Enerto Stirling, president of the ACA – Uruguay.
Since 2001 the FLAR established a specific program for the temperate zone where the germplasm flow sought to respond the necessity of cold tolerant materials among other reasons.
“This is a work that has been done since the beginning of the FLAR and the results of that we see now are the result of many years of work led by Maribel Cruz and Edgar Corredor. What has been done this year is to have a clearer outline on how we can accelerate the process in a way that allows us to obtain results faster and in line with the partners programs objectives”, explains Sanabria.
Due to the above the activities carried out in Colombia continue to be indispensable for the rice breeding for the temperate zone. The advantages of the tropics germplasm bank, the crossings area, the pyricularia evaluations and the analyzes at the culinary and milling quality laboratory are crucial for the workflow of the triangle conformed by the FLAR headquarters in Colombia, the regional office in Uruguay and the fields of each member in the temperate zone.
Walter Cardozo of Argentina expresses that another point in favor of the way in which the breeding program in the Southern Cone is developed is that it allows the access to materials and a place where the conditions to select are favorable and similar to the countries of this region; access to larger populations also make more effective the work of selection of temperate climate materials. “We will begin to work in agronomic and quality issues on all these lines whether hybrids or promising lines so that when we release a variety it has been analyzed from all points, from the genetic, agronomic and quality part,” Says Laura Carbajal, agronomist of ADECOAGRO technical team.
This integration between breeding and agronomy represents another great advantage for the work being done in the region. This is how Yamid Sanabria and Luciano Carmona develop joint activities aiming to complement both areas to obtain the greatest potential of the germplasm evaluated. “FLAR can not only deliver germplasm, FLAR as a support to partners programs must deliver solutions and these come hand in hand with genetics plus agronomic management,” Sanabria points out.
II Germplasm Evaluation and Selection Workshop
The Regional Office concludes a year of planning and now looks to the future focusing on the execution of the plans agreed with its allies. The FLAR Germplasm Assessment and Selection Workshop for the Temperate Zone was one of the main activities included in the plan and was successfully held on 23 and 24 February.
Breeders from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and CIAT participated in this meeting where field work at the INIA El Paso de La Laguna Experimental Unit was included. The breeders were able to evaluate and select materials from approximately 1,500 lines. The next step is to send the selected materials to each country, which will be seedling and evaluated under the conditions of each country. This step will provide new information to refine the research objectives, as well as to define strategies that allow to continue strengthening the Program.
The work in the Southern Cone continues to fill the expectations of its direct beneficiaries, especially for the hope of the releasing of new varieties adapted to the needs of each country. We asked some members what opportunities and perspectives they have regarding the FLAR work in the region and this is what they told us: