Vienna, August 25, 2021. In an article published on its official website, the International Atomic Energy Agency recognized the work of Cuban scientists in the use of irradiation and biotechnology for the development of new crop varieties that can cope with to extreme conditions imposed by climate change.
"New crop varieties improve tomato and soybean yields in Cuba"
Tomatoes and soybeans are enjoyed in cuisines around the world, and their demand is constantly growing. Have you ever wondered how farmers have been able to meet this demand and the role that nuclear techniques play in it?
With the help of the IAEA, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences of Cuba (INCA) has been implementing breeding programs using irradiation and biotechnology to develop new varieties that can better cope with extremes in growing conditions imposed by climate change.
As a result of this work, new improved tomato and soybean varieties (Giron 50 and Cuvin 22) were successfully harvested this May in a research trial field. They will now be distributed to farmers, along with the 21 other varieties previously developed by the Institute in a wide range of crops such as rice, green beans and roselle, a species of hibiscus.
The new varieties went on to obtain a national license this year and were subsequently registered in the global database , managed by the Joint FAO / IAEA Center for Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture .
“Since 2009, through mutation breeding, we have offered a way to develop new climate-resistant crop varieties and thus contribute to the livelihood of local farmers and improve food security in 18 countries, including Cuba,” said Fatma Sarsu, a plant breeder at the Joint FAO/IAEA Center for Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, who retired in mid-2021.