KNOW HUB CHILE AND U. OF CALIFORNIA RIVERSIDE SIGN AGREEMENT TO COMMERCIALIZE PLANT VARIETIES
The national corporation which seeks to promote the technology management capacities of its associated institutions, set up an agreement with the American University, leader in research and citrus fruit improvement, a fast-growing industry in our country.
Know Hub Chile – corporation seeking to turn its associates’ research results into entrepreneurships, science-based goods or services – and the University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside) developed a market agreement of plan varieties of both institutions, promoting them as part of their licensable technology portfolio to potential partners. This alliance is framed in a greater objective for both entities which is fostering development and growth of Latin-American innovation and entrepreneurship, for the society benefit (almost half of 23 thousand students at UC Riverside are Latins).
“‘UC Riverside is a strategic allied to our country, particularly to Know Hub Chile and its associated universities and research centres. There’s a long-standing relationship between California and our country, and one of their key pillars has been the agricultural production and its associated technologies. UC Riverside pioneer arose in 1907 when the University of California created the Citrus Fruits Experimental Station to contribute with research, production and development of new varieties the, the citrus fruits growing industry needs in South California. Nowadays, the total economic impact of this industry in one of the most prosperous states in America exceeds US$ 7 thousand million”, Know Hub Chile Executive Director Javier Ramírez explains.
Currently, UC Riverside Citrus Fruit Varieties Collection is like Noah’s Ark of these species: It’s got two trees per more than a thousand different varieties of citrus fruits, considering oranges, lemons, mandarins, clementines and grapefruits. This estate is used to solve disease problems and to improve citrus fruits commercial varieties. UC Riverside also has a long tradition in avocado improvement. In fact, just a few kilometres from Riverside, the cradle of the Hass variety can be found, patented by Rudolph Hass, corresponding to 99% of the 150 thousand tons of avocados exported annually by Chile.
“‘We see a great opportunity for plant varieties developed in Chile, which fill the needs of the American Industry. Our alliance with Know Hub Chile enables us to include the Chilean varieties in our portfolio, with high visibility before the greatest producers and growers’ associations of the country”, Dr. Rosibel Ochoa, UC Riverside Vice-Chancellor associated to Technology Partnerships, commented.
In Chile, between the regions of Coquimbo and O’higgins, the citrus fruits industry grows steadily, mainly due to the water scarcity issue. Over the last decade, the planted area has increased, exceeding 17 thousand hectares, and their exports have tripled, with nearly 300 thousand, their main destination being North America (Mainly USA). And this industry is meant to continue its growth: last August, Chile and China signed a preliminary agreement so that Chilean citrus fruits can enter the Asian Giant.
As for avocados, if in 2012 our country was the green gold’s second biggest world exporter after Mexico, the following year we were displaced by Peru. Colombia is also becoming a strong competitor. Regarding exports, 2018-19 season (144 thousand tons) was 9% lower than the previous one (157 thousand tons). Industry recognizes the need to improve the productive area as a challenge, specially in terms of genetics and rootstock to increase crops yields.
Specifically, UC Riverside Technology Partnerships Office and Know Hub Chile will both benefit from each other’s experience in their geographic areas and varieties, will support each other to facilitate licensing negotiations and there will be mutual assistance. This agreement should make the introduction of varieties developed by Know Hub associates in the USA easier, on one hand, and also UC Riverside varieties entrance in Chile. This specific agreement is established in the context of a greater collaboration between both institutions.
Know Hub partners are the following universities: Austral University, Catholic University of Maule, Catholic University of Temuco, University of Chile, University of Talca, University of Los Lagos, University of Bio-Bio, and Metropolitan Technological; Processed Food Study Centre; Agricultural Research Institute and the Biomedical Neuroscience Institute.