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Training new young researchers

Study in partnership with Embrapa encourages planting different varieties of cassava and mobilizes nine students

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Since 2003, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Company (EMBRAPA) has supported the Cooperative Strategic Manioc and Fruit Production Alliance – formed by the Presidente Tancredo Neves Rural Family Home (CFR-PTN) and by the Presidente Tancredo Neves Rural Producers’ Cooperative (COOPATAN), both part of the evelopment and Integrated Growth Program with Sustainability for the Southern Bahia Lowlands Environmental Protection Areas Mosaic (PDCIS), supported by the Odebrecht Foundation.

The installation of an Experimental Field at the Novo Horizonte Farm, head office of CFR-PTN and COOPATAN, was one of the first products of the partnership. Since then, the access to new technologies has become easier, which guarantees the improved quality and productivity of the crops and an exchange of knowledge with the new producers.

Over the years, the new partnership was expanded, and in October 2012, EMBRAPA implemented the Junior Scientific Initiation Scholarship Program in partnership with the Family Home. Nine graduates from five communities of the Bahia municipalities of Valença and Presidente Tancredo Neves were selected and have already begun their research focused on the topic “Controlling the White Fly in Manioc Root Crops.”

Robenilson dos Santos, age 16, is one of these individuals. “Being a researcher is something that really motivates me, since this project will identify new varieties of manioc root that are more resistant and will serve as encouragement for my family and neighbors to continue planting this crop,” said Santos. The study, which lasts one year, involves seven types of the root, six of which are supplied by EMBRAPA and one chosen by the youth himself. “I still receive a monthly scholarship of R$ 150.00 that I save to invest in growing bananas,” he said. I’m planning some changes in my future.”

For Alessandra Santos, age 15, the most important thing is involving the community in the research. “We are taking techniques oriented by EMBRAPA to our region,” she said. “Besides this, I’m improving my knowledge and enriching my training as a technician in agriculture.” The activities are coordinated by EMBRAPA researcher, Romulo Carvalho, and by Agronomic Engineer and monitor of CFR-PTN, Rita Cardoso.

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