UTALCA INTRODUCED INNOVATIONS FOR THE AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY AT IFT-AGRO

DEPARTMENTS AND SEVEN TECHNOLOGY CENTERS PARTICIPATED IN THE INTERNATIONAL FAIR OF AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGIES THAT INCLUDED THREE DAYS AT AGRICOLA CENTRAL.



April 7, 2017

With the objective of getting to know the technologies, services, lines of research and projects carried out by the University of Talca for the agricultural sector, the Vice President for Innovation and Technology Transfer headed the participation of the Departments of Agricultural Sciences, Engineering, the Institute of Biological Sciences, the School of Design and seven of the technological centers at the International Fair of Agricultural Technologies, IFT Agro 2017.
 
 
The second edition of this exhibition was held on April 5 and 8, organized by the American company Kallman Worldwide, together with the Asociación Agricola Central, with the intention of bringing together Chilean and international companies that offer cutting-edge technological solutions for agriculture.

 There were more than 80 exhibitors, seminars, lectures, demonstrations and presentations of products in the former Talca Fital complex.
 
 
On this occasion, those in charge of disseminating the portfolio of technologies and services of the UTALCA were the technological centers of the Vine and Wine (CTVV); of Native Plants of Chile (CENATIV); Research and Transfer in Irrigation and Agroclimatology (CITRA); Soils and Crops (CTSyC); Plant Genetic Improvement and Phenomics; Environmental Hydrology and the Pomes Center.
 
 
The vice president for Innovation and Technology Transfer, Gonzalo Herrera, expressed the importance of participating in this initiative by its emphasis on agricultural technologies.
 
 
"The University has an identity strongly marked by the disciplines related to agricultural sciences, promoting linkages with the productive sector from their areas of expertise to deliver innovative solutions to agricultural problems. Along with this, we have established collaboration agreements in the field of education and training, but also on technology transfer. In fact, there is an important group of entrepreneurs, public entities, business associations with whom we have very good relations of cooperation," said Herrera.
 
 
In this regard, the director of the Pome Center, José Antonio Yuri, talked about the positive impact that this fair generates to show the community the activities of the Center.
 
 
"We have an established work core with the producers of apples, pears and cherries of the Maule Region and throughout Chile. However, this event can surprise our expectations, since we are a specialized unit in one area and not the entire population knows us. Along with this, it also allows us to be aware of what is going on in the environment, get to know the available technologies and build alliances with companies to test equipment or products for the benefit of the producers," said Yuri.
 
 
For his part, the director of the Center for Research and Transfer in Irrigation and Agroclimatology (Citra), Samuel Ortega, said that one of the major problems of the agricultural sector is the inadequate use of water resources.
 
 
"The technology transfer is essential for public and private institutions to encourage the incorporation of new technological tools to optimize the use of water in agriculture. In this context, our center is presenting an innovative system to make flying a drone over the crops and to be able to determine the level of stress that the crop has and the amount of water that should be applied. This technology has been tested in crops of corn, sunflower, hazel and vineyards, with very good results," he said.
 
 Links with businesses
 
 
To promote the research and development activities of the UTALCA through its eleven technological centers, the Direction of Technological Transfer, thanks to the performance agreement in support for Innovation in Higher Education (Ines), coordinated  meetings with companies through its Marketing Unit, led by Oscar Astudillo.
 
 
"We are looking for a direct interaction with the companies to know their needs and assess the possibilities of interacting with each other in R&D projects through the various lines of financing that currently exist. We had a meeting with the Biofrio Company, dedicated to cold packing of berries, where they raised their demand to create a new product with maqui berries, with the collaboration of the University. Along with this, we will sign a licensing agreement with Surfrut Agricultural and Agricola Ana Maria," said Astudillo.
 
 
For her part, the director of the Center for Native Plants of Chile (CENATIV), Hermine Vogel, talked about the development of new varieties of maqui berry that they are growing and reproducing for its commercialization.
 
 
"Our research has allowed us to offer the industry the first plants guaranteed with regard to obtaining homogeneous fruits and with high productive potential. In collaboration with the Fundación Chile and with funding from the Regional Government, we are delivering three selections of maqui berry of good quality to meet the national demand for this raw material," he said.
 
 
In addition, three academics from the UTALCA gave conferences on different issues related with the agro; one of these addressed the diseases of the wood in vines, in charge of Mauricio Lolas. In the area of technological innovation in agriculture, spoke the director of the Technological Center of Soils and Crops, Hernán Paillan, and about the challenges in the recovery of soils as a result of wood or grassland fires. These presentations were added to the participation of Hermine Vogel about the varieties of maqui berry with high fruit production for cash crops.



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