By GABRIEL SALDANA | The Borlaug Institute
Dr. Juan Landivar (second from right) and his team of scientists from the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center in Weslaco, TX lead a team from the Borlaug Institute around the Center’s aquaponics experimental greenhouse. The lettuce seen here is grown in water, not soil, and is fertilized by koi fish, which are housed in a container adjoining the water-floating bed where the plants are embedded.
Dr. Tim Davis, the Borlaug Institute’s regional director for Asia, lifts a floating bed of lettuce for the Institute’s Interim Director Dr. Elsa Murano, who inspects the experimental aquaponic rig in a greenhouse of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center, Weslaco, TX.
A strong tie to the comprehensive system of expertise across Texas A&M AgriLife is paramount in the Borlaug Institute’s mission to fight global hunger and poverty through agricultural science. That is the message the Institute continues to deliver in a series of visits to nine strategically located AgriLife Extension and Research centers across the state.
“These visits are a measure to engage expertise from across Texas A&M’s expansive system of agriculture scientists,” said Borlaug Institute Interim Director, Dr. Elsa Murano.
The visits, which run from June through September, 2014, have been geared toward locating expert scientists and learning how their expertise can contribute to specific agricultural development projects around the world in coming months. To that end, Murano has traveled with agricultural development experts of the Institute to engage AgriLife Center scientists in an exchange of ideas on where specific expertise can fit into the larger scope of the organization’s international work.
At the AgriLife Research Center in Beaumont, for example, Borlaug Institute staff converged with Center Director Dr. Ted Wilson and his team, which is comprised of the world’s preeminent rice scientists. The meeting fostered an in-depth review of the Center’s work and how it might gel with opportunities for developing the rice sector in Myanmar.
Borlaug Institute Interim Director Dr. Elsa Murano talks rice opportunities in Myanmar with Beaumont AgriLife Research Center Director Dr. Ted Wilson.
In Weslaco meanwhile, Research Center Director, Dr. Juan Landivar, alongside his team of research scientists, led the Borlaug Institute on a tour of the Center’s aquaponics experimental greenhouse. The Institute and Center teams discussed how the developing technology might be applicable in regions of the world where water scarcity is a challenge.
In Corpus Christi, AgriLife Research Center and Borlaug Institute teams converged to review how an array of the Center’s capabilities in aqua culture might fit with projects in Asia that deal with sustainable water ecosystems.
A team of scientists at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center in Weslaco TX takes in a lecture on the mission and organization of the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University.
All projects of the Borlaug Institute require a scientific approach to building – and in some cases rebuilding – the agricultural industries of developing countries across the globe. Collaboration with scientists of varied agricultural backgrounds, such as those existing at Texas A&M AgriLife’s Research and Extension Centers, is essential for building well-rounded programs for success.
“Their participation is integral to continuing the Institute’s global battle against hunger and poverty,” Murano said.
The Borlaug Institute by the end of its tour will have visited AgriLife Centers in Beaumont, Weslaco, Corpus Christi, Overton, Dallas, Amarillo, Lubbock, San Angelo and El Paso.
Any scientists of the Texas A&M system interested to participate in the series of discussions is welcome to contact Kasey Verboom of the Borlaug Institute for information.