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CTA. 1995. AVRDC. Spore 60. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47226
The Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC), created in 1971 and based in Taiwan, was originally the brainchild of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). From the beginning, the fundamental goal of AVRDC has...
The Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC), created in 1971 and based in Taiwan, was originally the brainchild of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). From the beginning, the fundamental goal of AVRDC has been to increase the production and quality of vegetables through improved varieties, increased disease and pest resistance/tolerance, increased heat tolerance and better cultural practices. Research concentrated initially on six vegetables: tomato, soy bean, mungbean, sweet potato, white potato and Chinese cabbage. Sweet potato and white potato were later dropped from the research programme and replaced over a period of time by three other major crops: pepper, alliums (onion, shallot, garlic) and eggplant. Genetic resources AVRDC collects and stores as many cultivars of its mandated crops as possible. Its Genetic Resources and Seed Unit (GRSU), constructed in 1984, is a large cold-storage facility capable of keeping some varieties of seed viable for as long as a century. By September 1995, GRSU had a total of 37,938 accessions of its principal crops and 5,404 accessions of non-prinicipal but regionally important crops. The unit holds the world's base collection of mungbean and pepper. The material provides a broad genetic base for vegetable breeding and safety backups against the risk of a limited and highly uniform gene pool. Requests for seed samples of material in the collections as well as information about breeding lines are regularly received. Ongoing research aims to establish sets of core collections and to generate information that will lead to better management of vegetable genetic resources. This includes the use of statistical, cytological, biochemical, and molecular tools in the analysis of genetic diversity and genetic changes at different phases of germplasm maintenance. The germplasm is made available to researchers. One of AVRDC's major achievements is the development of tomato varieties that yield well under hot, humid conditions. A rich source of vitamin C, tomato is a popular cash crop for small farmers and home gardeners throughout much of the world. The principal problems with tomato in the hot, humid tropics are poor fruit set and disease. The challenge for AVRDC's tomato breeders was to combine heat tolerance and disease resistance with desirable culture and eating characteristics. Today the GRSU's active collection of cultivated tomato and wild relatives is one of the largest in the world. Application of biotechnology Molecular techniques are used to understand the biology of the principal vegetables at the molecular level, in order to genetically engineer varieties that might otherwise take years to complete using conventional plant breeding methods. Biotechnology has assisted AVRDC plant breeders to produce mungbean varieties which are highly resistant to bruchids, a major pest of stored beans throughout the world. Current activities include tissue culture and transformation, pest and stress control, quality improvement and genetic mapping. Biotechnological research is one of the primary areas in which AVRDC collaborates with universities worldwide. Spreading the word To bring AVRDC closer to its partners and respond more effectively to differences in needs and capabilities among regions, the Center has established regional networks in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Southern Africa. In 1992 AVRDC signed an agreement with the Southern African Centre for Cooperation in Agricultural Research (SACCAR). to be the executing agency for the Collaborative Network for Vegetable Research and Development in Southern Africa (CONVERDS). There are ten participating countries in the region: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The network is based at Horti, Tengeru near Arusha, Tanzama. Through its International Cooperation Programme, AVRDC assists in strengthening and enhancing national vegetable research and development capacity through information and communication services, collaborative research, technology transfer and institution building. AVRDC has recognized the very important role it can play in the development of human resources for vegetable research and extension, both through its training programmes and through the development of training materials. The Center's aim is to create a critical mass of well-trained and motivated researchers within the national agricultural programmes of developing countries themselves. Good information exchange is also vital to the development of national capacity. The Center operates a Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) service for national programmes. It produces and publishes commodity-specific quarterly updates which, abstracted from the latest worldwide horticultural information sources on these commodities, are available at no charge from AVRDC. Copies of selected articles from the SDI listings can be obtained on request. In addition a Tropical Vegetable Information Service (TVIS) project has established a computer retrieval system using the software MINISIS. The AVRDC library is a major repository of information on vegetable improvement and the Center is a leading publisher and distributor of vegetable research information. Publications from the Office of Publications and Communications (OPC) are distributed to more than 600 libraries and to individuals in 160 countries. The Center's bi-annual newsletter Centerpoint contains up-to-date news on the Center's courses, conferences, research and projects. AVRDC PO Box 42 Shanhua Tainan TAIWAN Tel: +886 6 583 7801 Fax +88665830009 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com avrdc@C6hinet.net