HomeScienceCebisa, biotechnology in the hands of farmers

Cebisa, biotechnology in the hands of farmers

Biotechnology seeds represent more than 460 million dollars in savings

The advance of aeroponics in Venezuela is evidenced by the first nucleus of the Biotechnological Center for Training in the Production of Agamic Seeds (Cebisa) in the state of Mérida, a place where farmers have been trained.

At Cebisa they seek to rescue ancestral seeds with the management of clean cultivation techniques, which is why this laboratory is about to be recognized as a category 2 one.

The project was presented in recent days before the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as part of the scientific-farmer alliance.

The Minister for Science and Technology, Gabriela Jiménez, pointed out that in the month of August UNESCO experts will visit the country to evaluate it.

He specified that the management of seed production through biotechnology represents more than 460 million dollars annually for the country in import substitution. In addition, he said that this guarantees genetic and phytosanitary quality.

“This aeroponics core produces biotechnological seeds rescued from our ancestral seeds and has software developed by us and receives nutrients from nanofertilizers formulated by Venezuelans,” he explained.

They harvest seed potatoes through the aeroponics method.


The background is the consolidation and scaling since 2009 of the Socialist Network for Comprehensive Productive Innovation of Potato Cultivation in the state of Mérida.
Developed by the Association of Integral Producers of the Páramo (Proinpa), the idea was to achieve a potato seed of high genetic and health quality, he explained to Últimas Noticias Rafael Romero Cadenas, planning coordinator and founding member of the organization.

This is how, with the passage of time and in the interest of all, they have worked to transcend towards agroecology, and put aside the concept of monoculture or the Green Revolution agricultural model that is based on a single crop with agrotoxics. and synthetic fertilizers.

The horizon has always been to change towards responsible agriculture, with the minimum use of pesticides and to diversify production units.

This goal includes the modernization of strategies, which is why they have been developing technologies from simple to sophisticated ones such as the use of biotechnology.

In this sense, producers have specialized in the subject of seeds and have ventured into in vitro cultivation or tissue culture, which is the appropriate technology for the multiplication of seeds clonally or asexually.

"Starting in 2009, we began to include in vitro cultivation in the topic and in 2013, with the support of the Ministry of Science and Technology, we built a laboratory with all the ideal conditions for multiplication," he expressed.

He added that, from there, they began to venture into other areas, not only potatoes, but also garlic, coffee, sweet potatoes and more, to different crops, from forestry, ornamental and fruit trees.

This is how since 2015, with the use of the laboratory, today a reference for biotechnological production has been built by the hands of farmers, a characteristic that gives greater meaning to Cebisa.

In vitro cultivation is a technology that is generally seen in academies and private corporations, as well as research institutes, but Cebisa is the only project managed by farmers trained to put it into practice.

Many allies have joined, such as the Institute of Advanced Studies, the Simón Rodríguez National Experimental University, the Universidad de los Andes, the Institute of Experimental Biology and others.

“All this ends up being in the market a concept called open science, which is knowledge applied and related to the subject of research, that is, the people and users who need it,” he said.

He added that the project has a germplasm bank that allows these genetic studies related to native crops of improved varieties to be carried out.

“Once it enters its consolidation stage, we will be on the verge of being recognized by UNESCO. It would be the only one in Venezuela and a global reference that would allow the exchange of knowledge,” he highlighted.

Likewise, he said that with the seeds they produce, problems are being solved in 20 states under a relationship of “horizontal transfer, from producer to producer.”

“We are proud of the project and we believe that these types of initiatives allow the country to build food independence and sovereignty. We are a national benchmark and we believe that if we were able to achieve it, other producers in the country can achieve it too,” said the producer.


Pole. A category 2 center is considered a meeting point for regional and international experts, which also provides technical assistance and service.
Support. With a level 2, the Cebisa core will be able to support not only regional activities, but also those of a global, subregional or interregional nature that are carried out by both UNESCO and others.

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