Second workshop “Towards participatory tomato breeding”

On October 1, a group of tomato growers and breeders from public institutions met remotely at the second workshop “Towards participatory tomato breeding”, generated by Bioleft. The objective of this workshop is to co-design breeding goals that will then be pursued through various projects, and at the same time contribute to the assembly of the Bioleft digital platform by collectively establishing what data are relevant for the field notebook, one of the most important sections. This is done in the framework of the three experiments that Bioleft is developing with funding from the Conservation, Food & Health Foundation.

This time, breeding teams from the national universities of La Plata, Cuyo, Rosario, del Litoral and Buenos Aires, as well as from INTA in Jacobacci, Río Negro, participated. Among the producers were representatives of the National Indigenous Peasant Movement (MNCI) and the production and marketing cooperative Hormigas y caracoles (Ants and Snails). Alex Edleson, founder of the organic and agroecological seed company Constelación and part of Bioleft’s advisory team, also contributed his ideas.

Flavor, a key parameter

After a round of presentations, Almendra Cremaschi resumed the work of the previous tomato workshop and presented the objectives of this second workshop: to filter the breeding goals in order to initiate a collective process. To this end, she recalled the challenges identified in the first workshop regarding tomato seeds: robustness, health, yield, post-harvest duration, consumer resistance to unconventional looking varieties, among others. Flavor was added as a priority, and the possibility of working closer to consumers, with tastings and education on the different tomato varieties was discussed.

Regarding the collaborative process, a first stage of evaluation of all the seeds was agreed upon, considering the diversity of environments. Accordingly, representatives of the project Al rescate del tomate criollo (FAUBA) committed to send seeds for evaluation both for production purposes and for evaluation at other universities. The Rosario team explained its strategy for monitoring the materials in the peri-urban cordon and it was agreed that it is necessary to contact more people in the production area.

The last words were left by Gustavo Schrauf, head of the Genetics Department of the Faculty of Agronomy of the University of Buenos Aires and part of the Bioleft advisory board: “We are starting to walk, it will be a nice exercise to share the platform with Rosario”.