Center of Renewable Resources CoRR
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering - Ghent University
Research group Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture and Etnobotany  
The Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Agronomy and Ethnobotany (Prof. Dr. ir. Patrick Van Damme) belongs to the Department of Plant Production of the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering. The laboratory has a long-term tradition in valorisation of plant genetic resources in the tropics and subtropics world-wide.

Since the seventies, the green revolution has increased yield and world-wide production volumes of traditional food crops. However, the aim of improving livelihoods in developing countries has not been achieved. Although complex mechanisms lie at the base of this failure, it is now globally accepted that sustainable rural development can often better be achieved by making use of locally available agricultural and natural resources. The Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Agronomy and Ethnobotany focuses therefore on applied research in the field of plant diversity and its socio-economic use (ethnobotany), development of new crops from currently underutilized species and crop ecological studies to understand the mechanisms of crop adaptation to harsh environments. Currently, four EU-funded research projects are being performed in these fields:

CHERLA:   Promotion of Sustainable Cherimoya (Annona cherimola Mill.) Production Systems in Latin America through the Characterisation, Conservation and Use of Local Germplasm Diversity

PAVUC:   Producing Added Value from Under-Utilized Tropical Fruit Crops with High Commercial Potential

DADOBAT:   Domestication and Development of Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) and Tamarind (Tamarindus indica L.)

ALCUE-FOOD:   From European Fork to Latin American Farm: an Innovative Networking Platform for EU-LAC Partnerships in Food Quality and Safety R&D

Further, in the Congolese rainforest around Kisangani (RDC) possibilities for food crop development from a whole range of wild edible plants are investigated in a VlIR-funded research project. More ethnobotanic research is being performed in Bolivia, Suriname and Benin.

Beyond its research activities, the Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Agronomy and Ethnobotany aims at bridging the gap between academic research and its application by governments, NGOs, and other actors in rural development of tropical and subtropical countries.

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