Development & Aid, Environment, Tierramerica - Ecobrief

Ecobreves – CUBA: Nuclear Technology for More Resistant Crops

HAVANA, Nov 26 2012 (IPS) - Agricultural researchers in Cuba are using radiation in an attempt to develop banana, rice, avocado and tomato strains that are more resistant to drought and salinity, as part of a Latin American cooperation project. “Many areas of the country have saline soils as a result of seawater penetration, drought and the widespread use of chemical fertilizers, among other causes. There is a growing demand for crops that will grow in difficult conditions like these,” researcher Orlando Coto of the governmental Institute for Tropical Fruit Production Research told Tierramérica.

The initiative, which will be expanded in 2013, will maintain the current studies, which use induced mutation techniques, and incorporate work on citrus fruit crops, he explained. “We are currently irradiating avocado tree seeds and leaf buds, but more time is needed in the case of fruit trees,” he added.

The Cuban research is part of a wider project being carried out under the Regional Cooperation Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the participation of 10 countries.

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