Food and Fertilizer Technology Center - News

Experts share technologies on fruit tree production under climate change at the 2022 FFTC-TARI-MJU Symposium, Chiang Mai
Dec. 27, 2022
Experts share technologies on fruit tree production under climate change at the 2022 FFTC-TARI-MJU Symposium, Chiang Mai
  The 2022 FFTC-TARI-MJU Symposium “Trends and Opportunities of Displacement of Fruit Tree Production Areas under Climate Change” was successfully conducted on November 28-29, 2022. This workshop was jointly organized by FFTC and Taiwan Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) - Fengshan Tropical Horticultural Experiment Branch, and Maejo University (MJU) in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The MoA signing between TARI-Fengshan and MJU kicked off at the first day of the said event. Eight speakers from 5 countries (Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand) shared their experiences and work on fruit production especially on the topics of coping with the challenges of climate change. The symposium concluded the following strategies to respond to changing climate effects on fruit production: climate pattern prediction, adoption of adaptation and mitigation measures; use of micronutrients and chemical elements to improve pollen viability, pollen tube growth and fruit-setting, good fruit production practices such as multistorey cropping and appropriate nutrients, water, pests, and canopy management through pruning, adoption of smart fruit production system, and a review of existing land use to ensure its suitability and sustainability for fruit crop production. On the second day, the group visited (1) off-season grape, persimmon, and pear production at Pomology Division of MJU ; (2) the commercial mango and longan farms at the Home of Cowboy Farm where the place also served as a learning center for students to develop their entrepreneurial skills from planning, production to postharvest and markets; (3) the organic pomelo, grapefruit, mulberry, cacao, lemon farms in the Uraiwan Organic Farm in Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai. More than 125 people from 14 countries registered for online participation. The top ten countries are: the Philippines 47.3%, Thailand 14.7%, Taiwan 10.9%, Malaysia 7.8%, Vietnam 4.7%, India 3.9%, and others – Burma, Japan, Lao PDR, Nigeria, Indonesia, Pakistan, US, and Belgium. Around 40-50 people participated in person at the Furama Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand.   For more information, please visit workshop pages at  https://km.fftc.org.tw/workshop/17 MOA signing between Fengshan Tropical Horticulture Experimental Branch of Taiwan Agriculture Research institute and Faculty of Agricultural Production, MJU, Thailand. Left 3rd: Dr. Wen-Li Lee, TARI; 4th: President of MJU, 5th: Vice President of MJU, 6th: Dr. Su-San Chang, FFTC and 7th: Vice President of MJU. November 28, 2022 Field visit to the experimental field at Division of Pomology, MJU. November 29, 2022    
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.”
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