The first laboratory for the in vitro cultivation of plants was installed in the Tarapacs region, within the framework of a project that seeks to contribute to the development of northern Chile's date agroindustry through the use of this propagation technique and by adapting the introduced varieties to the area's agroecosystem. The laboratory was built by the Arturo Prat University (Unap) and the Kelumilla company with the support of the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA).
“The laboratory will allow us to multiply a date palm by 50-100 times. Then each of these can be multiplied again in the same quantities. This is a powerful and revolutionary tool,” stated Dr. Jose Delatorre Herrera, the project's alternate director, and professor at the Arturo Prat University.
“This project will use the laboratory for two lines of work. One is the importation of date germplasm from the United States, a task to be carried out by Kelumilla SpA. The other line is collecting and identifying local germplasm with commercial value so it can be propagated,” he added.
A team of young researchers, made up of Biotechnology Engineers and Agronomists Isabel Sepulveda, Cristopher Low, and Jose Delatorre Castillo are working in the germplasm collection, in vitro multiplication, and offering technical assistance to farmers.
“This will allow us to develop an ideal sustainable date industry and sector. We'll be able to stop the advance of the desert and the region will become a world benchmark in the production of dates with biotechnology. Moreover, the introduction of the new crop will allow small producers to supplement their income and diversify their production, thus increasing their economic stability and making their production more adaptable to climate change,” stated Felipe Olivares, FIA representative in the Tarapaca region.