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China-South Africa Edamame Exchange Program Progresses Successful

Update time: 2016-02-01

Lead scientist of the Sino-South Africa science and technology collaboration project of Breeding for Resistance to Pod Dehiscence in Vegetable Soybean, Prof. Zhang Qiuying, vegetable soybean breeder of Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, CAS, conducted a 6-day academic exchange visit to the University of Free State, and Durban Edamame Development Center (DEDC), South Africa from 19-24 January, 2016 with her team members Dr./Prof. Xia Zhengjun, Prof. Li Yanhua, and Prof. Zhu Danhua, director of Crop and Nuclear Research Institute of Zhejiang Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

The group investigated edamame farm of DEDC, and evaluated different edamame phenotypes on the site. The potential improvement approach of backcrossing integrated with molecular biology method in identifying edamame genotypes resistance to pod dehiscence was discussed and exchanged with South Africa counterparts.

The Chinese scientists also met Dr./Prof. Sundar Shanmugasundaram, internationally recognized edamame breeder, former director for the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre, and exchanged experiences and lessons in breeding edamame varieties. Together with Dr. Shanmugasundaram, the group visited local edamame production base and inspected edamame machinery harvest in the field. On the spot, Prof. Zhu Danhua suggested the use of hair brush in minimizing the loss of fresh pods during harvest.

As planned before the visit, the group was invited to attend ‘Edamame: Agribusiness and Food Security and Nutrition Seminar’, co-sponsored by the eThekwini Municipality, Siyasebenza Corporation, Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, from KwaZulu-Natal State, and the Durban Edamame Development Programme held on 20 January 2016 held in Durban International Convention Centre. Over 180 participants with news media, private sector and industry entrepreneurs, research scientists and extension agents presented in the event.

Five invited keynote-speakers addressed different issues of edamame research and development in their expertise. Prof. Zhang Qiuying presented a talk titled ‘Edamame Production Practices for Small-Scale Farms in China’. In her 15-minute presentation, she introduced the history and current scenario of Edamame production, and achievement of edamame varieties breeding and improvement in China. She also addressed the key pointers for edamame production in China’s different regions, and advances in physiological research. She was rewarded by a local high-ranking official.

Accompanied by South Africa counterpart, Dr. Van Der Merwe Rouxlene and Dr. Michiel Smit, the group went to Greytown Msinga, a remote and poorest village where edamame is planted. The area is with dry climate and lower soil fertility. Land there is distributed sporadically, and thus suitable for small-scale farming. Planting Edamame is projected to solve the protein-and nutrition-deficient problems to the local farmers and their children for home consumption in the area. The local farmers could not plant edamame well due to lack of experience and thus technology support is required for next-year edamame planting. The group advised farmers to irrigate the plant appropriately, and strongly recommended them to spray foliar fertilizer to meet nutrient demand in the later stage, and harvested the fresh pod in time.

The group discussed further exchange plan with South Africa counterparts, including Chinese side training for South African personnel to seed composition determination protocol, progeny provision and elite exchange from South African side to Chinese counterparts, and publishing papers and technical notes.

With present exchange visit, the Chinese group further understand the significance of Sino-South Africa Exchange Program, and strong demand for new technology, new product/food from South African government and enterprises, especially the earnest expectation from farmers living in poverty-stricken lines to change their fate. The deepened relationship and understanding between plant scientists of the two countries will definitely promote a successful and prosper edamame industry development, fight poverty and improve the possible boost it would have on rural economy and farmers’ well-beings in both countries as well, particularly to South Africa.

 

 

 

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