SEAMEO BIOTROP recently hosted back-to-back activities related to nuclear application in agriculture with the Joint UN Food and Agriculture Organization and International Atomic Energy Agency (FAO/IAEA) Division for Nuclear Techniques for Food and Agriculture. These activities were the Seminar-Workshop on Application of Nuclear Techniques for Increased Agriculture Production on 18-19 August 2014 and the Joint FAO/IAEA Division Second Regional Coordination Meeting (RCM) of its Coordinated Research Project on “Integrated Utilization of Cereal Mutant Varieties in Crop/Livestock for Climate Smart Agriculture” on 20-21 August 2014 at the Centre’s headquarter in Bogor.
Both the seminar-workshop and RCM were aimed to share achievements and identify new research and capacity building prospects and collaboration on nuclear application in food and agriculture among the 30 participants from the 10 countries involved in the said FAO/IAEA regional coordinated project. The countries include Austria, China, Kuwait, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nigeria, Peru, United Kingdom, and Indonesia.
In his welcome remarks, SEAMEO BIOTROP Director Prof. Dr. Bambang Purwantara thanked FAO/IAEA for entrusting the Centre to host its second RCM. He also acknowledged FAO/IAEA’s support for the research project of Dr. Supriyanto, the Centre’s expert on sorghum production, titled “Development of Promising Sorghum Mutant Lines for Improved Fodder Yield and Quality under Different Soil Types, Water Availability and Agro-Ecological Zones” as part of its regional coordinated project. The support, he added, has enabled the Centre to obtain seven advanced mutant lines of Brown Midrib sorghum that are adaptable in dry areas and different soil types in Indonesia for forage production.
Mr. Ljupcho Jankuloski, FAO/IAEA Director, gave an update report on the regional coordinated project as part of his message. He noted the current developments in research using nuclear technology particularly in sorghum and other cereals in Indonesia. He considered the seminar-workshop and the RCM as timely to enable scientists from the 10 countries to share knowledge and experiences on mutation breeding for increased agriculture production. He also encouraged researchers from other institutions to join other research programs under the Joint FAO/IAEA Division.
Dr. Haryono, Directorate General of Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD), representing H.E. Dr. Suswono, the Minister of Agriculture, officially declared open both events and delivered the keynote speech. Dr. Haryono emphasized that Indonesia has successfully improved rice varieties using mutation techniques toward having positive attributes such as high yield, early maturity, insect and disease resistance, and with better quality and yield than the original parents. He added that Indonesia has released 20 rice mutant varieties (which make up 10 % of the national total rice varieties) six varieties of soybean, three varieties of sorghum, and one variety each of mungbean and cotton. He also expressed his highest appreciation to the IAEA for its technical collaboration with Indonesia in producing the said varieties.
Coordinated by Dr. Supriyanto, both events were able to compile (1) current research developments on plant breeding using nuclear technology through mutation techniques, (2) Data on the productivity of some advance mutant lines for increased agriculture production, and (3) List of research and training needs and proposed activities on nuclear technology application in agriculture for the next three years (2015 – 2017).