POMAEXPO 2016 ATTRACTED PARTICIPANTS FROM THE REGIONAL AND NATIONAL FRUIT-GROWING INDUSTRY
THE FAIR WAS PART OF THE CELEBRATION PROGRAM OF THE 21 ANNIVERSARY OF THE POMES CENTER, HELD AT THE SAME TIME OF ITS BI-MONTHLY TECHNICAL MEETING.
June 10, 2016
A showcase of different varieties of apples from of the main producing areas of the country were presented at the Pomaexpo 2016 fair, held at the Department of Agricultural Sciences, being one of the events of the 21 anniversary celebration of the Pomes Center.
About 150 persons, mostly important representatives form the local and national fruit-growing industry, participated in the program that included a talk by agronomist Ignasi Iglesias, from Fruitcenter, Parque Científico y Tecnológico Agroalimentario of Lleida, in Catalonia.
The specialist stressed that the work taking place in that Center is similar to the one at the Pomes Centre of (CP). "The sector needs this Center since the competitiveness of the global world demands the refining of the value chain, from harvesting, the varieties, maritime transport, waste, and profits, so the support of the Pomes Center is more important than ever, since it is part of the technology that must be delivered by the University," he said.
The fair was aimed at guiding the producer in terms of the evolution and trends in the apple and pear varieties. In addition, it had a discussion panel on development models for new varieties, from the industry’s point of view and with an eye on the coming challenges.
At the opportunity, the Director of the Centre, José Antonio Yuri, made a summary of the activities of the last period. The academic stressed that, in more than two decades, the work has focused on "capturing the essence of the industry’s problems, make them part of the Center and find the solutions. With this, the companies trust us and credit us. A parallel consequence has been the hiring of our professionals, who are mostly working in this industry."
As for the challenges of the Center, José Antonio Yuri explained that they arise every month and demand a change of focus. As an example, he mentioned some concerns concerning the impact of radiation and high temperatures. "We have a worldwide genetic program managed for years at the Pomes Center, where the objective is to obtain a red, sweet and sunburn resistant apple variety for Chile’s central region, where the fruit is getting burned due to radiation and temperature," he said.
Francisco Prat, businessman from Chilean South Apple, said that the Pomes Center "has been close to the real difficulties of the industry, because every-day agronomic problems require technical solutions and a corrective testing trials, a sector where the Center has played a fundamental role".
To do its work, the Pomes Center has post-harvest, pre-harvest, fruit physiology and ecophysiology units, with a team of 15 qualified professionals. It has also been awarded nearly a hundred projects, both in the public and private sectors, for an estimated amount of more than eight million dollars.
John Skinner, from the Exportadora San Clemente company, explained that the work of the Pomes Center, in the "rigorous scientific evaluation of the practical problems of the industry, together with the technology to solve these problems, has been instrumental in the development of the industry".
For his part, José Luis Vásquez, from Highland Fruit, stressed that "the need for growers to put more attention to the nutritional part of apples, in order to better interpret leaf and soil analysis, has been resolved in a very good way by the Pomes Center ".
In its 21 years of existence, the technological centre of the Department of Agricultural Sciences has carried out, without interruption, 111 bi-monthly technical meetings, with more than 5000 participants, and it has received more than 2000 visitors from 40 countries, a fact the fruit industry has recognized with two regional and national awards.
In addition to the mentioned contribution, the Pomes Center also trains professionals, since it has supervised 151 undergraduate and 21 graduate graduation theses.
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