Councilors and professionals from the coastal communes of the region, as well as GORE executives, met with the INIA team to learn about the progress and challenges of the GORE-INIA-MUNICIPALITIES program “Technological innovation applied to productive processes of the Regional Potato Center, for the strengthening the competitiveness of the coastal territory of the La Araucanía Region ”, meeting led by the Regional Director of INIA Carillanca, Elizabeth Kehr, together with the program team coordinated by researcher Patricio Méndez. The initiative, financed by the Regional Government of La Araucanía and executed by INIA Carillanca, has a duration of five years, where the municipalities of Carahue, Saavedra, Teodoro Schmidt, Freire, Gorbea, and Toltén, in addition to SAG and INDAP, aimed at implementing a new seed potato production scheme in the coastal territory.

The central objective of the program is to ensure the availability of quality seed potatoes that contribute to containing the area free of quarantine diseases, and allow ensuring the production of guard potatoes and prime potatoes in said territories. In this sense, a production management model has been implemented in La Araucanía, which will ensure the quality of the seed produced, through the establishment of seedbeds on the farms of specialized producers, training multipliers and incorporating the transfer of seed quality from multipliers to municipalities and INDAP. A relevant and high-impact work is permanent training for potato producers and technical teams from the designated municipalities.

“We know that potatoes have always been an important item for small producers in the region, who have had to face the difficulty of viruses and diseases in their crops, therefore INIA's commitment is to deliver healthy material. Undoubtedly an ambitious goal, since it is necessary to supply many hectares and put potato seed in the hands of farmers that allows them to improve their yields and therefore generate greater income from their production systems with the consequent improvement of their quality of life ”, commented Elizabeth Kehr, Regional Director of INIA Carillanca.

This program also considers the implementation of a management model that includes the expansion of the spaces of the Plant Tissue Cultivation Laboratory of the INIA Tranapuente Experimental Center (located in the Carahue commune), the construction of a greenhouse with automated technology and the installation of a warehouse for the storage of minitubers, a laboratory that to date has an advanced 80% and which was visited during this meeting. "Said model will allow linking all the spaces related to the establishment, multiplication, scaling and maintenance of parental material as a single unit, following a work flow that guarantees the safety of the product from the start of cultivation under conditions. in vitro up to obtaining minitubers with a high productive potential, thus complying with the seed potato production regulations required by the country, ”explained Patricio Méndez, INIA researcher and program coordinator.

Undoubtedly, this investment will allow having adequate capacity, state-of-the-art technology used today by large companies in the field, and maintaining quality control of the seed generated. With the implementation of these new technologies, it is expected to maintain a flow of 50 thousand seedlings of different varieties of potato in each planting stage, that is, every three months, with which it is expected to reach the productive goals that amount to 1800 tons of potatoes. seed, which will be available to multipliers and producers in La Araucanía. “As a Regional Government, we are monitoring the progress of the qualification of the laboratory that today reaches an 80%, a great milestone for the region, which will be able to count on a unit of this magnitude, promoting potatoes at the coastal and regional level. Regarding seed production, there has been a slight delay, which we hope to rebound in 2020 with the end of the agreement ”, stated Christian Valdebenito, GORE Executive.

About INIA
The Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) is the main agricultural research institution in Chile, dependent on the Ministry of Agriculture, with a national presence from Arica to Magallanes, through its 10 Regional Centers, as well as technical offices and experimental centers in each one of the regions of the country.

Its mission is to generate and transfer knowledge and strategic technologies on a global scale, to produce innovation and improve the competitiveness of the agri-food sector.

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