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Tropical Agriculture & Agri-Food Value Chains

The LEAF research thematic line (TL) Tropical Agriculture and Food Value Chains (TROPIC@LEAF) is a scientific vector aiming at capitalising ISA multidecade experience in research, teaching, knowledge transfer and capacitation in the African Portuguese-speaking countries. 23 LEAF Integrated Members are currently working in the tropical area and the tropical framework emerged as a transversal thematic area comprising fundamental and applied research, fostering research carried out in all LEAF groups that are involved in tropical issues.

The research TL includes a long-term work on the main coffee diseases (leaf rust and berry disease), which supports resistance breeding programmes with significant impact on the economies of coffee growing countries. Worldwide unique germplasm collections of coffee genotypes with different spectra of resistance, and of pathogen isolates with different virulence profiles will be maintained in LEAF. Furthermore, interdisciplinary studies at morphological, physiological, biochemical and molecular levels will be further developed, focusing on aspects of plant-environment interactions (abiotic stress), aiming for the sustainability of agricultural systems in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

In addition, the research TL includes the identification and characterization of plant pathogens, biological control, germplasm evaluation and plant disease resistance screenings. Likewise, it will support integrated pest management and phytosanitary measures along the value chain, as well as research on appropriate technologies for processing and preserving agri-food products to increase local/regional food security.

Research on new strategies for climate change adaptation in tropical agro-systems will continue and bioprospection and conservation of tropical plant species will be characterized further in the context of biodiversity conservation, management of natural resources and bio-based economy. Rural development and agricultural advisory will foster integrated approaches aiming at connecting research and local development, while promoting life cycle assessment methodologies to empower environmental and social sustainability policies. Research findings will be supported by the SKAN Platform (Sharing Knowledge Agrifood Networks), increasing knowledge and technology transfer between Europe and Africa, and Latin America.

In the years to come, TROPIC@LEAF will reinforce international collaboration to gain advantage of ISA national leadership and reputation towards the recognition of a reliable international centre of expertise in tropical agriculture and natural resources, food production and pest management, value chain assessment and strategic analysis. TROPIC will also aim at strengthening connections with other universities and research institutes but also with government agencies, businesses and NGOs in order to provide societal impact and promote development in tropical regions in accordance with SDGs.

António Guerreiro de Brito

Thematic Line Coordinator

 

António Guerreiro de Brito

Associate Professor

Contact: agbrito@isa.ulisboa.pt