This Friday (12), at 14h, Embrapa Cassava and Fruit Culture (Cruz das Almas, BA), Unit of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Company – Embrapa, linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, celebrates its 45 years of activities in a ceremony broadcast on the corporate Channel on YouTube conducted by the chief general Alberto Duarte Vilarinhos and with the participation, also live, the president of Embrapa Celso Moretti.
During this period, Brazilian fruit growing expanded throughout the country, which became the third largest producer of fruits in the world. Dozens of centers of fruit production have emerged, even in the semi-arid northeast, which has been excelling by the export of fresh fruits of excellent quality. Among other technologies, varieties of citrus and banana generated, adapted and recommended by the Unit have played a prominent role.
The production chain of cassava, a staple food of a large part of the Brazilian population, has undergone major transformations and, in many regions, has gone from traditional subsistence culture to agribusiness status, with the offer of an extensive range of derived products and significant added value. Flour is still fundamental, but starch has become the anchor product of many enterprises. Strategic alliances with private initiative and producer organizations have contributed to the improvement of the production chain in several regions, with positive impacts on the quality of life of thousands of producers.
Embrapa's only unit in Bahia, Embrapa Cassava and Fruit Culture works transversally to meet the new demands of society, establishing new and innovative production systems, such as organic production, the development of agroforestry systems, the expansion of this vision for agroecology and the establishment of works to define the carbon balance. In view of these challenges and its very comprehensive mission, the Company has invested in the expansion and better qualification of institutional, national and international partnerships, including the implementation and strengthening of advanced fields in strategic regions of the country. The continuous prospection of technological demands and choice of priorities, the validation of results and their conversion into innovations and the evaluation of the adoption and impacts of technologies have received special attention in recent years.
Embrapa Cassava and Fruit Culture emerged from the Agronomic Institute of the East (IAL), built in the 1950s, later the Institute of Research and Agricultural Experimentation of the East (Ipeal), linked to the federal government, whose mission was to develop technologies for regional agriculture. At the time, the work with citrus was highlighted. The Unit was officially established on June 13, 1975 with the objective of executing and coordinating research to increase production and productivity, improve product quality, reduce production costs and enable the use of underutilized areas for cassava and tropical fruit trees. Thus, it began to have a mission focused on crops (currently cassava, citrus, pineapple, banana, papaya and passion fruit) and with national coverage.
It occupies an area of 260 hectares in the municipality of Cruz das Almas (Recôncavo da Bahia) and has a modern infrastructure that includes 16 laboratories, greenhouses, greenhouses, screens, library, cassava training center and experimental fields with nine collections of species and varieties of cassava and fruit trees, composed of more than four thousand accesses. It has 183 employees, of which 65 are researchers. In the area of research support, there are 45 analysts, with university education, some with postgraduate degrees, 30 technicians and 43 assistants in laboratories, experimental field and administrative sectors.