No agricultural meeting would be complete without a trip to the places where things happen. For this reason, GCARD2 devoted its third day to field visits.
Located within a radius of 150 kilometres from Punta del Este, six ‘circuits’ invited participants to find out more about agricultural research and innovation “made in Uruguay” – and sample the beauties of the country too, Jorge Marzaroli, coordinator of the local committee that organised the circuits, told SciDev.Net.
Buses left the Conrad Hotel to explore each of the six paths, which also included lunches in various farms or country inns.
Circuit 1 was ‘Traceability and value add’, and was intended to show cattle farming — one of the main export sectors in Uruguay — and some sheep farming, both distinguished for its sanitation quality and traceability.
Circuit 2 was about ‘Co-innovation in family livestock production’ and comprised visits to three farms that are working with three national institutions to increase production with available technologies.
Circuit 3 was focused on ‘Certified genetic material’. It involved a visit to a small women’s cooperative that produces certified seed onion created by the state faculty of agronomy, a winery that produces wine with certified genetic material, and a nursery which is producing high-quality seeds.
‘Land access’ was the theme of circuit 4, and included visits to family dairy farmers and a collective farm which has a bank of fodder, both making remarkable use of natural resoursers.
Circuit 5 was ‘Sustainable production’ and it explored fruit production with strong participation of rural women, and a horticulture farm that combines its production with cattle farming to preserve the soil.
Circuit 6 was about ‘Production in protected areas’, and included visits to holdings that received support and advice from the national government to achieve a more productive and sustainable management of the existing natural pastures.
According to Ricardo Shaw, in charge of the booking system, participants chose their favorites based on three criteria: the topic that interested them the most, gender-driven concerns, and also the posibility to see some of the Uruguayan landscape.
Shaw said that the most popular trip was circuit 2, located in the southeast of the country, in Rocha, a Uruguayan department known for its natural beaches and green plains dotted with palm trees.
Other popular circuits were 1, 5 and 6, which took participants to 120 km to the center of the country; to outside the city of Montevideo — the Uruguayan capital — located 150 km to the west of Punta del Este; and to the east of the country, on the coast of Rocha department, respectively.
In the evening, after the visits, all the buses arrived at Estancia Siglo XX, a well-preserved country inn outside Punta del Este, where a traditional Uruguay barbacue was waiting for all participants.
This blog post is part of our coverage of GCARD 2012, which takes place on 29 October–1 November 2012 in Punta del Este, Uruguay. To read news and analysis on agricultural research please visit our website.