Six new research projects are now underway thanks to the funding of grants awarded by Auburn University and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station Cuba Grants program.
The projects were designed to encourage and further the academic collaboration between AAES researchers and scientists at both Auburn University and Cuban Agricultural Universities and research centers.
Cuba producers shifted towards organic production when there was a declining availability of chemical inputs which led to environmental, social, economic gains and a more organic approach to farming known as “agro-ecology.”
The program that is administered through Auburn College of Agriculture’s Office of Global Programs was established in 2015 to stimulate research partnerships with the Agrarian University of Havana, the Cuban National Center for Animal and Plant Health and other agricultural research institutes in Cuba.
Henry Fadamiro, Auburn Alumni and professor in the College of Agriculture, is the director of the global programs and believes the small start-up grants have potential to attract more funding in the future.
“These seed grants will be used to leverage major grants from outside sources, such as USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State,” Fadamiro told Auburn University.
The projects are led by scientists and professors and include “Turf-grass management in Cuba: A whole-systems approach as significant gold course construction looms” led by Beth Guertal, “Capacity building among Cuban Scientists in the application of crop simulation models and decision support systems” led by Brenda Ortiz and “Development of strategies to evaluate land-use management for sustainable food production and environmental protection” also led by Ortiz.
The grants will also cover “Capacity building for detection of avian influenza virus and safe disposal of organic materials in case of an outbreak” led by Joseph Giambrone, “Identification of novel botanical pesticides for sustainable urban pest management” led by Arthur Appel and “Compatibility studies of product to control plan-parasitic to Cuba and the U.S.” led by Rodrigo-Rodriquez Kavana.
The Auburn/AAES Cuba grant proposals will be revised in spring 2017 and will be opened to any tenured or tenure-track facility member who has an AAES or Alabama Cooperative Extension System appointment and also opened to any investors on this year’s projects if they demonstrate first-year progress.
Emmy Leberte, The Plainsman
June 17, 2016