During the autumn of 2016 Gert Kema visited several important banana research teams and banana production regions and discussed many ongoing and new research projects around the globe.
Kema visited the Philippines from September 26-October 1 where he worked with PhD student Maricar Salacinas, and various INREF partners to start a field trial on anaerobic soil disinfestation to reduce the Foc inoculum in soils. He then continued to Indonesia to work with the Indonesian PI’s on administrative details of the KNAW-SPIN project and to discuss and prepare a joint science week later during the year (see below).
Gert Kema continued to Colombia with PhD student Fernando Garcia who addressed the banana growers in Santa Marta on the progress of the INREF program and to discuss current and future collaborative projects with the national banana corporation (AUGURA), the banana producers of Santa Marta (ASBAMA) and the National Agricultural Institute (ICA).
Mr. Fernando García-Bastidas MSc, Colombian PhD student in the INFEF program at Wageningen University and Research, was the main instructor during two banana Fusarium wilt training sessions in October and November 2016 at the substations of Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (The Colombian Agricultural Institute ) (ICA) in Antioquia and Barranquilla, Colombia. Fernando trained ICA staff in the identification of Fusarium wilt in the field and in laboratory detection through molecular techniques including PCR, qPCR and LAMP
In Ecuador Gert met various partners and discussed collaborative research and participated in the 13th International banana forum organized by ESPOL university and the Ecuadorian Banana Exporter Association (AEBE) where he gave a talk on the latest findings with respect of the genetic diversity in Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense, the Fusarium wilt pathogen of banana. Gert also visited several banana producers to discuss the current problems and perspectives on-site in Quevedo and in Guayaquil together with Dr. Egbert Spaans, the Dutch honorary consul of The Netherlands in Guayaquil.
In China Gert visitied Dr. Sijun Zheng, Bioversity International and Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, in Kunming, China for a seminar and a field visit in southern Yunnan, bordering Vietnam, and from there continued to give a talk at the Southern China Agricultural University in Guangzhou. There he also continued the discussion on the possibility for collaboration between SCAU and Wageningen University & Research that was kicked off last May in Wageningen during a visit of a SCAU delegation.
After China, Gert continued to Indonesia for a science week with all KNAW-SPIN PhD students, the three post-docs and the Indonesian and Dutch PI’s. During this week the group studied overall diversity along 16 transects from a societal, agro-ecological, soil and disease perspective at four different sites on Java (see article on this subject below).