Costa Rica Will Lead the Genetic Improvement of Crops in Central America

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    Authorities of Costa Rica reported this Friday that the country will lead the Center for Innovation for the Improvement of Crops in Central America and the Caribbean (CACCIA), which is focused on the development of more productive, resilient crops and with greater nutritional value for producers of the region.

    The National Institute for Innovation and Transfer in Agricultural Technology (INTA) revealed in a press release that it is one of the two entities selected to lead the initiative together with the Quisqueya University of Haiti.

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    “We are extremely proud to have formed an outstanding interdisciplinary team of national and international scientists that will act as a regional alliance for crop improvement, with a focus on beans, sorghum and sweet potatoes given their importance for smallholder agriculture at the regional level,” said the coordinator and breeder of INTA, José Roberto Camacho.

    The group’s objective is to guide the region towards “more equitable, efficient and climate-smart genetic improvement programs, through the use of new tools, technologies and methods, in order to contribute to reducing hunger and malnutrition in the region”, explained the expert.

    Essential step forward

    For the authorities, the initiative is necessary to improve agricultural production and livelihoods, especially now where food security is an increasingly urgent problem to be solved.

    The three-year project is promoted by Cornell University’s Crop Improvement Innovation Laboratory (ILCI) and funded by the Feed The Future program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

    “Together we are creating impact and developing sustainable solutions for hunger reduction on a local and global scale. The Innovation Center will leave a lasting impact on food security for many years to come,” said ILCI Director Stephen Kresovich. The Crop Improvement, Innovation Laboratory (ILCI) was launched in October 2019, and seeks to strengthen national agricultural research institutes, with the tools to define their specific objectives and direct crop improvements to reduce malnutrition, hunger and provide income equity from a gender and youth perspective.

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