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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

For the next two weeks, collegiate agriculture students who were selected to take part in the International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership (I-CAL) program will be traveling in Columbia and Panama and blogging about their adventures.

Buenos Dias, Otra Dez from the 2011 I-CAL Team in Columbia!!

This morning we departed from our beautiful hotel here in the city of Cali, Columbia for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). CIAT is an international organization sponsored by the United Nations, Rockefeller Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, as well as many others.

Fun fact about an I-CAL team member and the W.K Kellogg Corporation, Miss Kelli Fulkerson’s hometown is twenty minutes from the corporate headquarters which is located in Battle Creek, MI.

The foundation of CIAT mission is to, “Produce Eco-Efficient Agriculture for the Poor.” They fulfill this mission by contributing household and global food security in a way that is eco-efficient, and adds value nutritionally and economically.

Today, while at the Central CIAT office we were able to see four different sectors of the CIAT programs. These included; cassava research and production, bean genomics, the economic analysis program referred to as DAPA, and rice genomics improvement.

Cassava is a starchy tuberous root that is the major source of starch here in South America and all over tropical regions. This starchy tuberous root can be compared in the United States to a potato. Cassava production in South America is vital to their food, fuel and animal feed source production.

Bean and rice genomics are a very large part of CIAT’s research and development. CIAT host’s one of the largest bean DNA libraries in the world. This library comprises over 36,000 different bean varieties. CIAT is the site of the development of several varieties of rice that are utilized worldwide today. We were taught about how these varieties were developed.

DAPA is a large part of CIAT’s perspective on International agriculture. They must look at what the world’s market trends are, and how they are occurring, in order to utilize and develop a strategic method for what new or existing crops they will research. There are five team members that assist with the DAPA program.

The night was ended with a cultural dinner and Salsa dancing. The entire team enjoyed showing our American two left feet. There were many dance instructors that offered their numbers to us for lessons. Great way to spend our first full day in Columbia!

Until we meet again,

Caleb Wurth- Kanas State University
Kelli Fulkerson- South Dakota State University

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