Yam growing Research
We are leaders in research into one of the crops considered to be an orphan at national and international level. Research into this crop has been promoted by support from the Dutch Cooperation Ministry (DGIS) as the first Colombian Agricultural Biotechnology Programme (Programme Colombiano de Biotecnología Agrícola - PBA); it has led to research being carried out using biotechnology in different areas of interest for a particular crop. National support is currently being provided by Colciencias and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development who have financed several of the group’s projects.
Socioeconomic studies in the Colombian Caribbean region led to the conclusion that small farmers could not overcome their conditions of poverty if they could not count on support from research institutions offering them orientation, thereby leading to changing the traditional way in which such farmers’ crops have been managed. The best way of improving their level and quality of life was determined to be by becoming an integral part of development through participative research whose main aim is setting up an integral technological and sustainable improvement strategy for yam growing, thereby contributing towards increasing the income and improving the quality of life for small producers from the Caribbean littoral. Our group has developed and consolidated solutions allowing them to overcome the main technological and environmental limitations affecting the yam crop and integrally tackling fundamental components for small producers’ organisational development. This is being achieved via the participation of other institutions involved in the programme which we all form part of, such as the Universidad de Sucre, Universidad de Córdoba, Corporacion Colombianan de Investigacion Agropecuaria (CORPOICA) and Corporación para el Desarrollo Participativo y Sostenible de los Pequeños Agricultores Colombianos (Corporación PBA).
Our research group’s efforts, together with that of other Corporación PBA institutions, have led to extending yam growing’s biodiversity via different technological strategies such as continuing to study pathogens affecting the crop. A start has been made on evaluating yam’s potential in Colombia’s cosmetics, chemical and food industries.
It should also be mentioned that the participative research strategy has been strengthened, making it become a support for research and development activities (not just for our group but for many others too) as a mechanism facilitating technology transfer to Colombia’s small producers. The inter-institution research strategy has been consolidated through our participation in national and international yam research networks.
Profesor Gustavo Buitrago H.
Ciudad Universitaria - Carrera 30 No. 45-03
IBUN - Instituto de Biotecnología, Bogotá D. C., Colombia
Teléfono: (57-1) 3165000 Ext. 16979
Grupo en CvLAC
Correo electrónico: gbuitragoh @unal.edu.co