From 01-06 July 2010 two courses took place at the Colombian National Agricultural Research Organization Colombian Corporation for Agricultural Research (CORPOICA) La Libertad Research Center in the city of Villavicencio.
There were more than 30 participants from different public and private sector organizations, including FENALCE, CORPOICA, UNILLANOS, SEMIVALLE, CENICAFE, CIMMYT, and Universidad ICESI. Both courses were possible thanks to the support of the Colombian Agriculture Ministry, as part of the project “Development of maize germplasm tolerant to acid soils for the Oriental Plains of Colombia,” in partnership with CIMMYT.
An advanced maize breeding course covered subjects such as doubled haploid technologies, screening, quantitative genetics, hybridization, molecular markers, and precision agriculture, and was taught by CIMMYT’s George Mahuku and Luis Narro, FENALCE’s José Ever Vargas Sánchez, and Argemiro Miguel Moreno Berrocal of CENICAFE. A statistics workshop, given by Norbey Marín Arredondo, consultant statistician and professor at Universidad ICESI, introduced participants to the use of SAS in experimental design and analysis.
Both events received favorable reviews from the participants. FENALCE’s Luis Hernando Arévalo said that for him, and for several of his colleagues, the course had been like an “accelerated graduate degree” and that more courses like these should be given. CORPOICA’s Claudia Calderón reported that the new breeding and statistics tools she learned will enable her to work more efficiently. Finally, FENALCE’s general manager Henry Vanegas suggested that similar courses should be organized in more locations in Colombia to benefit more people.