The coordinator Assunta Bertaccini from the University of Bologna led the second consortium meeting of TROPICSAFE, hosted by Nicola Fiore and his team from the University of Chile. Over the three days that the event lasted, from April 12nd to 14th, partners presented the activities developed in the first year of the project.
For this meeting partners from countries from Europe, Africa and America met in Santiago. The aim was to discuss the progress made, the future work and to exchange ideas on research, social impact and dissemination of results and, last but not least, to attend to administrative issues.
The first day the meeting was set in the historic Santa Carolina Winery warehouse, a Chile National Monument built in 1875. Preliminary results regarding the surveys made to analyse the symptom presence and identification of the pathogens were presented. Based on samples randomly collected, the partners involved in the activity explained how the targeted crops are being studied in the affected areas: lethal yellowing (LY) in palms in Cuba, Jamaica, México, Ghana and Mozambique; huanglongbing (HLB) in citrus in Chile, Guadeloupe, South Africa and Cuba; and grapevine yellows (GY) in grapevine in Chile, South Africa, Italy and Spain.
On the other hand, the available knowledge on epidemiological cycles of the diseases in subtropical and tropical areas and the development of innovative detection methods for pathogens were also discussed, as well as the first steps to develop advanced Integrated Pest Management.
The second day the discussion were carried out at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the oldest higher education institution in Chile, the University of Chile which was founded in 1842. Fruitful discussions centered on future challenges, new activities and resulted in strengthening collaboration among the geographically widely spread partners. Other non-technical issues were also addressed, such as the assessment of the socio-economic sustainability of the project results, the project’s management, the dissemination and communication activities and the exploitation of results.
The meeting finished with a visit to the vineyards of the TROPICSAFE partner Cooperativa Agricola Vitivinicola Loncomilla at San Javier de Loncomilla, in the central valley viticultural region of Chile. Its General Manager, Álvaro Muñoz, welcomed the consortium and Assunta Bertaccini summarised the main conclusions of the discussion. All the partners thanked the organisation and committed themselves to continue working to achieve the objectives of the project.