The Canary Institute of Agrarian Research (ICIA), attached to the Council of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the Government of the Canary Islands, has established itself as a leader in the research of tropical fruit trees on a national and international scale, with a germplasm bank that serves as a source of plant material for improvement programs in agricultural production. The Institute runs the Finca Cueva del Polvo, located in the municipality of Guía de Isora, in Tenerife, which has the largest collections of banana and mango germplasm in Spain, as well as important collections of lychee and carambola.
The Councillor of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the Government of the Canary Islands, Alicia Vanoostende, visited the Cueva del Polvo Farm on August 12 to take a firsthand look at the work being done in this fruit farm. Accompanied by the president of the ICIA, Juan Francisco Padrón, and researchers Juan Cabrera, María José Grajal and Pedro Modesto, among others, she toured a plot that is carrying out various internationally prestigious trials for the improvement of tropical and subtropical crops.
Vanoostende highlighted the potential of a farm "where research is carried out and the knowledge obtained is subsequently transmitted to the sector, allowing for the improvement of agricultural production in the Canary Islands." Along these lines, she pointed to the importance of keeping "a complete banana and mango germplasm bank, which is essential in the field of research in order to have different plant materials that can help in the optimization of resources."
At the moment, the ICIA is carrying out technical tests for the varietal identification of bananas and tropical pineapples in the Cueva del Polvo, necessary for the registration of plant varieties, the organic cultivation of bananas within the European project Fruttmac, and the development of the Clismaban project, aimed at evaluating and supplying highly resilient plant material to producers in order to help them face new challenges.