Food and Fertilizer Technology Center - News

Technologies on intelligent seeds and seedlings production discussed in TSIPS-FFTC-APAARI joint symposium
Nov. 16, 2022
Technologies on intelligent seeds and seedlings production discussed in TSIPS-FFTC-APAARI joint symposium
  Grafting robots, unmanned aircraft drone, seed image recognition classifier—these are just some of the technologies showcased and discussed in the recently concluded joint symposium on “Establishment of and Intelligent Production System for Seeds and Seedlings.” A joint undertaking of FFTC and the Taiwan Seed Improvement and Propagation Station or TSIPS of the Council of Agriculture, together with the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) and Informa Markets, the said symposium aimed to explore the possibility of introducing and sharing more technologies in farm production and create a dialogue between producers and technology developers in helping solve the manpower problem. Nine experts on seeds and seedlings from India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam gathered in this hybrid symposium which was held onsite at the Nangang Exhibition Center in Taipei, Taiwan and online via Webex video conference system, which was also simultaneously livestreamed at the FFTC Facebook page to share knowledge, technologies and experiences. There were 185 participants from 21 countries who registered for this hybrid symposium. In her welcome remarks, FFTC Director Dr. Su-San Chang said that, the Asia Pacific Seed Association or APSA, reported that the trade volume of sowing seeds in the Asian and Pacific region had exceeded US$41 billion in 2018. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the seed production supply chain, which relies heavily on manpower, was heavily affected. Recently, however, new and intelligent technologies like the plant phenotype analysis robot, intelligent soil moisture monitoring, intelligent automatic seed collection and grading, etc. have been developed to help ease the workload of farmers. The workshop showcased different seed technologies which are being used to make seed production more fast and efficient. Some of these technologies include Taiwan’s intelligent vegetable and seedling production and sales management system, which replace the paper method used by seedling operators. There is also the remote system control facility, leafy vegetable production machine and the smart production and application model of a plant tissue culture. Another Taiwanese technology presented was the seed image recognition which basically is a seed classifier that combines deep learning and biological hierarchical classification architecture for seed identification of large number categories. Grafting technology plays an important role in countries like the Philippines where it is used in the off-season production of fruits and vegetables. In Japan, a new automated grafting machine has been developed using low cost plastic tape as a joint material, as well as a grafting robot. Thailand has developed the artificial intelligence and cold plasma technologies for intelligent rice seed production. In Korea, a private seed company has developed new breeding technologies like the CRISPR that improves breeding with 10% high competitiveness and 25% high efficiency compared to conventional breeding. Vietnam has the rice husk-based seedling production system for mechanical transplanting, seed classification processing, unmanned aircraft drone and a smart pest monitoring system.
The 116<sup>th</sup> Meeting of the FFTC Working Group
Nov. 15, 2022
The 116th Meeting of the FFTC Working Group
  FFTC held its 116th Meeting of the Working Group (WG) on November 8. Six WG members from Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan attended the meeting, together with observers from Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and the Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office (VECO). A guest participant from Malaysian Friendship and Trade Center was invited to attend the meeting. Mr. Vincent Chia-Rong Lin, Director General of COA’s International Affairs Department was elected as the Chairman of the meeting. FFTC Director Dr. Su-San Chang and Deputy Director Dr. Tomonari Watanabe took turns to present the accomplishments of the Center for 2022, as well as the proposed program and budget for next year. The WG members, who are representatives of FFTC’s member countries, serve as a link to the Executive Board and the FFTC management. The recommendations of the WG members will be elevated to the Executive Board in another meeting which has been scheduled on December 7.    
FFTC joins MOFA’s 2022 International Organization’s Day
Oct. 28, 2022
FFTC joins MOFA’s 2022 International Organization’s Day
  FFTC joins more than 20 related ministries, institutions and organizations in celebrating the 2022 International Organization’s Day hosted by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Held on October 22 at the Taipei Guest House, the said event has captured the spirit of promoting international participation with its theme: “Stronger Together.” It also echoes the second "Voluntary National Review Report" (VNR) released by Taiwan this year for the implementation of the "United Nations Sustainable Development Goals" (SDGs). The Center has an exhibit booth display which briefly describes its mission and vision as well as its past and current activities, which are addressing at least 11 of the 17 SDG Goals. The whole day affair, which was also open to the public, was attended by envoys from 30 countries in Taiwan, and representatives of international and intergovernmental agencies and organizations. It was a chance for the participating organizations to showcase their respective missions and developmental activities to the general public. FFTC Director Dr. Su-San Chang and some of the FFTC management staff graced the occasion and took turns to explain the Center’s activities to its guests and participants.
Experts discuss sugarcane breeding and utilization technologies and future R&D direction in the JIRCAS-FFTC online workshop
Oct. 04, 2022
Experts discuss sugarcane breeding and utilization technologies and future R&D direction in the JIRCAS-FFTC online workshop
  The recently held FFTC-JIRCAS online workshop on “Innovations and Networking of Sugarcane Research for Future Sugarcane Industry in the Asian and Pacific Region” last September 15 in which 11 experts from Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, shared the current situation of sugarcane production and its related industries, and their future perspectives on the wide utilization of sugarcane and breeding strategies. In session 1 which tackled the advancement of sugarcane breeding using interspecific and intergeneric hybrids, presentations and discussion revolved around the broadening genetic background of sugarcane varieties, especially those commercial varieties that have to be more adaptable to adverse environment. In Japan, after 40 years of interspecific crossing, a commercial sugarcane variety known as “Haruno-ougi,” was developed from Saccharum spontaneum in 2019. This particular variety shows a sugar yield which is 1.5 times higher compared to the conventional varieties. Another collaborative research done by Japanese and Thai scientists shows the Erianthus species and their promising potential as good breeding materials for sugarcane improvement due to their desirable traits. Some hybrids with Erianthus root characteristics were seen as promising breeding materials for improving sugarcane adaptability to adverse environments. The research from Australia also described how to overcome the genuine hybrids’ difficulties between sugarcane and E. arundinaceus through molecular markers and cytogenetics techniques. Session 2, on the other hand, is a review of the status of sugarcane research and industry. Sugarcane experts from six countries reported the main issues facing sugarcane as a crop and  its related industries in their respective countries. Recently, sugarcane production, in terms of their yield, and quality has been vulnerable mainly because of climate disasters, labor shortages, reduction of sugarcane fields, old milling facilities, etc. There is also a new demand for the utilization of sugarcane and its byproducts for biorefinery and other new products. Future breeding strategies were also discussed, including varietal exchanges with other countries, cultivation method improvement for better sugar production and less carbon emission, breeding of new varieties which are suitable for countries' environment and policy, managing the utilization of the byproducts in the producing chain, and implementing policies and plans to keep the sustainable development of the sugar industry. Lastly, session 3 covers advancement of utilization technologies of sugarcane. It was reported that from 2021 to 2027, the Thai government will be implementing the utilization of their new economic model, which they termed as BCG which stands for bio-economy, circular economy and green economy to improve their competitiveness. Here, all sugar and its by-products which are used in various industries and will be referred to as bioproducts, will include high-value products like bioethanol, biofertilizers, biomass cogeneration, and animal feeds. With further biomodification to materials like bioplastic or biopharmaceuticals, these products might have an even higher value in the market. For years, Japanese researchers, have been developing technologies to address the problem of global warming. This includes high yielding sugarcane with CO2 capture capacity, and the development of other new innovative by-products using the “inversion process,” “efficient ethanol and ethylene production”, and “torrefaction technology.”
Soil scientists shared cultural practices and lessons on healthy soil-plant management
Sep. 07, 2022
Soil scientists shared cultural practices and lessons on healthy soil-plant management
Screenshot of the speakers and participants during the opening ceremony of the MARDI-FFTC International Symposium Workshop on “Role of Healthy Soil-Plant Interactions towards Achieving Resilient Agriculture in the Asian Pacific Region” Eleven soil scientists from eight countries (Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam) recently shared their respective cultural practices, technologies and experiences in enhancing healthy soil-plant management. Entitled “Role of Healthy Soil-Plant Interactions towards Achieving Resilient Agriculture in the Asian and Pacific Region,” the semi-hybrid workshop symposium was jointly organized by Malaysia Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) and Food and Fertilizer Technology Center for the Asian and Pacific Center (FFTC) and held last August 22 in Malaysia and Taiwan. There were two keynote speakers from Malaysia and Japan who talked about healthy soil practices. The Malaysian speaker talked about healthy soils practices that contribute to resilient agriculture and food security as well as factors that lead to soil degradation in Asia. He said that rehabilitation of arid soil such as desert and sand tailing will give new hope to crop production and food security. On the other hand, the other keynote speaker from Japan, talked about plant adaptation to changing nutritional conditions in soils, particularly boron sensing and “nutritropism,” which basically describe how nutrients in soil conditions affect plant cells, and the way plant roots change its behavior. In the next session on “Practical management to improve soil-plant interactions for agricultural productivity, the speaker from the Philippines, discussed how nanotechnology and nanofertilizers increased the yields of crops like rice, corn, cabbage, cacao and banana by as much as 20 to 40% and reduced the rate of application by as much as 50%. Meanwhile the speaker from Taiwan discussed how the shallow buried pipe technology can replace the action of washing salt and helps increase soil aeration, promotes root growth, reduces humidity accumulation in the greenhouse, and helps control and manage pests and diseases. The Malaysian speaker discussed some of the agronomic practices and soil fertility management used in marginal soils. These include the use of either organic or inorganic soil amendment and their co-application, improved drainage system, fertilization schedules, crop selection and an upgraded irrigation system. The speaker from Thailand discussed about the utilization of sugarcane trash to improve soil fertility. She said the utilization of microbial cell and microbial enzyme for sugarcane trash management could be an alternative to avoid the burning process and improve soil fertility. It could also be integrated with fertilizer management for sugarcane production. In Session 4 on “Advances in soil-plant management to boost productivity, sustainability and resilience in agriculture,” the speaker from Indonesia, discussed how the use of polyacrylic acid and polyurethane as coating materials could help in the control of release of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium of compound fertilizers. Another speaker from Japan talked about a framework for vegetable fertilization and optimization of fertilizers that could help in increasing the sustainability of crop production in Japan. The Vietnamese speaker presented the results of his study on the role of biochar on soil quality, carbon storage and crop yield and said that the application of biochar products improved soil quality and increased carbon sequestration in the soils of tea and rice fields. Meanwhile the speaker from Korea talked about legacy data and his study on spatial prediction of soil organic carbon and its application in arable lands. Results indicated that soil test database could contribute to establish strategy of best soil management for soil health and climate changes control. Last but not the least, another Taiwanese speaker reported about Taiwan’s steps to adapt and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to improve agricultural resilience. They include the application of field sensors and automatic control devices for precision irrigation, use of laser leveling technology to save irrigation water, and introduction of beneficial microorganisms to control soil-borne diseases and insect pests as well as the adoption of conservation tillage and crop rotation to improve the low productivity in farmlands. The semi-hybrid workshop was part of the 15th International Conference of the East and Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies or ESAFS and the Malaysian Society of Soil Science. It was livestreamed and broadcasted on two platforms, the Zoom platform (with close to 250 participants) and the FFTC Facebook page where the video stream reached close to 600 views. FFTC Director Dr. Su-San Chang delivers the welcome remarks during the opening ceremony Welcome remarks by MARDI Director General  Dato’ Dr. Mohammad Zabawi Bin Abdul Ghani At the FFTC Board Room, FFTC Director, Dr. Su-San Chang, Dr. Dar-Yuan Lee and TARI’s Dr. Yu-Wen Lin during the workshop’s general discussion Dr. Dar Yuan Lee, Associate Dean, College of Bioresources and Agriculture, is the moderator for the keynote session From L to R Mr. Wen-jin Jiang, Researcher, Tainan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station,  Dr. Yu-Wen Lin, Associate Researcher, Agricultural Chemistry Division, Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute and Dr. Dar Yuan Lee Closing remarks by MARDI Deputy Director for Research Dr. Mohamad Kamal Abdul Kadir and FFTC Director Dr. Su-San Chang
Mar. 22, 2022
Courtesy visit to ITA
Mar. 09, 2022
Courtesy Visit to the IETO
Feb. 24, 2022
FFTC pays a courtesy call to NZCIO
Jan. 19, 2022
Israel officials and the new TECO Representative in Tel Aviv visit FFTC
Jan. 18, 2022
VECO Courtesy Call
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