Travel report

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Approved by:


A. Hodder, S.O./HCG



I. Submitted by: E. Arias

Agricultural Officer, AGPC
II. Programme Code and Registry Code: PL 6/1 Arias


III. Visit to: Brazil (João Pessoa)

IV. Tasks undertaken for other FAO units: None
V. Inclusive travel dates: 20 – 28 October 2007
VI. Co-travellers: None

  1. Reason for Travel:

To participate in the VI International Congress on Cactus Pear and Cochineal and in the VI General Meeting of the International Technical Cooperation Network on Cactus (CACTUSNET)



Kueneman, AGPC

Hodder/Lutaladio, AGPC

Arias chrono

AGP Reg.

VIII. Results and conclusions

The VI International Congress on Cactus Pear and Cochineal and the VI General Meeting of the CACTUSNET were held in João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil, from 22 to 26 October 2007 at the conference room of the Tropical Hotel Tambaú. The event gathered 533 participants among producers, students and national and international researchers.
The events were organized by:

  • Federação da Agricultura e Pecuária da Paraíba (FAEPA)

  • Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB)

  • FAO


  • ISHS.

ICARDA participated through the Coordinator General of CACTUSNET (CGC) who was a key actor in the preparation and implementation of the Congress and Meeting and participated in the Scientific Committee.

  • Confederação da Agricultura e Pecuária do Brasil – CNA Brasil

  • Serviço de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas - SEBRAE

  • Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Rural – SENAR

  • Banco do Nordeste do Brasil – BNB

  • Banco do Brasil

  • Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico – CNPq

  • Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Capes

  • Governo do Estado da Paraíba

  • Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento - MAPA

  • Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia – MCT

  • Ministério do Desenvolvimento Agrário - MDA

  • Ministério da Integração – MI


  • Instituto Nacional do Semi-Árido Celso Furtado - INSA

  • Universidade Federal do Ceará - UFC

  • Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco - UFRPE

  • Empresa Pernambucana de Pesquisa Agropecuária - IPA

  • Superintendência Federal de Agricultura na Paraíba – SFA-PB/MAPA

The president of the organizing committee was Mr. Mario Borba from FAEPA. The Reporting Officer (RO) was invited to deliver some words about the activities of FAO in support of cactus development.

AGP supported technically and financially the Congress and the meeting of CACTUSNET. FAO also contributed with copies of the publications Plant Production and Protection Papers 132 Agroecología, cultivo y usos del nopal and 169 Cactus (Opuntia spp.) in English and Spanish plus a number of copies of the last four issues of the CACTUSNET Newsletter.
The Scientific Program, under the congress theme “Production of Cactus Pear and other cactus in the different ecosystems in the world: challenges and technological progress”, was presented in 10 Sessions, with 34 lectures and more than 230 papers presented as poster. All abstracts were published in a cd-rom that was distributed to all participants of the congress. It was organized in 10 sessions:
Session 1 - Plant genetic resources, conservation and evaluation

Session 2 - Fruits and Nopalitos production

Session 3 - Agro-industries and Postharvest

Session 4 - Medicinal, cosmetic and biofuel uses of Cactus products

Session 5 - Pests and Diseases

Session 6 - Cochineal production and utilization

Session 7 - Biology and Biotechnology

Session 8 - Uses of Cactus as forage

Session 9 - Use of Cactus to control desertification

Session 10 – Ecophysiology

Countries represented were Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, India, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Republic of South Africa, Spain, Tunisia, and United States of America.
A field visit to the cities of Juazeirinho and Taperoá were organized on the last day of the event. More than 200 people participated of the visit and were able to see the potential, advantages and threats of the cactus pear culture.
An exhibition area was organized where 36 exhibitors participated (companies, institutions, researchers, artisans) from different places of Paraíba and region, to show their work and products, always valuing the state and countries culture.
Sixth General Meeting of CACTUSNET
The meeting was chaired by the CGC of the Network and the RO with the following agenda:
1. Highlights on Network activities

General Coordination

Working Groups and Regional Coordinators.


2. The International Committee and countries’ focal points.

3. Next Congress and General Meeting.

4. Network Memories.

5. Miscellaneous.

The CGC presented a comprehensive report of Network’s activities since the past meeting in Chapingo, Mexico, in 2004.
Major modifications were the abolition of the socio-economic working group and the creation of the Medicinal Uses Working Group. A new coordinator of the Pitayas and Pitahayas Working Group was nominated.
The CGC insisted in the importance of designating a focal point for each country. Most of represented countries nominated the national focal point. Countries not present will be contacted.
India, Italy and Morocco offered to organize the VII International Congress on Cactus Pear and Cochineal and the VII General Meeting of CACTUSNET. The preferred country by the majority of participants to the meeting (not all members of CACTUSNET) was India, however the CGC, the Representative of ISHS and the RO will analyze the convenience of organizing the events in India according to the guarantees that the Indian convener will present. The expected date is in the second half of 2010.
Recognizing the excellent collaboration between FAO and ICARDA, the participants recommended strengthening officially links between ICARDA and CACTUSNET.
The participants agreed in supporting the promotion of cactus production and utilization in Asian countries and to continue the efforts to formulate and implement regional projects.
International Committee:

Coordinator General

A. Nefzaoui, Tunisia

Regional Coordinators

  1. North America

Jesús Fuentes, Mexico

  1. South America

Judith Ochoa, Argentina

  1. Mediterranean Basin

Enza Chessa, Italy

  1. Africa south of Sahel

Johan Potgieter, South Africa

  1. West Asia

Gurbachan Singh, India

Working Groups


  1. Colection, conservation and evaluation of genetic resources

C. Mondragón-Jacobo, Mexico

  1. Fruit production

Giovanni Nieddu, Italy

  1. Agro-industries and post-harvest

Carmen Sáenz , Chile

  1. Forage and rangeland

D. Cordeiro dos Santos, Brazil

  1. Cochineal

Liberato Portillo, Mexico

  1. Pests and diseases

Jaime Mena, Mexico

  1. Pitayas and Pitahayas

Jiftal Ben Asher, Israel

  1. Biology

F. Campos, Brazil

  1. Nopalitos

R. Valdez, Mexico

  1. Medicinal uses

Mónica Nazareno, Argentina

Other issues
The President of the Organizing Committee announced the organization of a national cactus congress in Brazil and requested the support of CACTUSNET.
Dr. Domingo Lélis and Dr. Mario Borba as members of FAEPA met with the CGC and the RO. They emphasized the importance of cactus in the Brazilian Northeast and requested the support of the CACTUSNET and FAO to improve production and utilization of cactus and introduce advance production technologies. The need of controlling Dactylopius opuntia that is destroying some plantations and advancing to other areas was also expressed. The RO suggested that FAEPA or the government of Paraiba officially contact the FAO Representative in Brazil to explore the possibility of receiving some support from FAO.
IX. Will detailed report be submitted: No, the proceedings of the Congress and the minutes of the Meeting are being prepared.

X. People met

  • Dr. Mario Borba, President of the Organizing Committee.

  • Dr. Albericio Pereira Andrade, President of the Scientific Committee

  • Dr. Domingo de Lelis Filho, FAEPA

  • Dr. Ali Nefzaoui, CGC.

  • Prof. Paolo Inglese, Representative of ISHS.

  • Dr. Roberto Germano Costa, Director, National Institute of Semi-arid Zone, Brazil.

  • Dr. Candelario Mondragón, INFAP Mexico. Coordinator of the Working Group on Cactus Genetic Resources.

  • Mr. Johan Potgieter, Regional Coordinator of CACTUSNET for Southern Africa

  • Dr. Carmen Sáenz, University of Chile. Coordinator of the Working Group on Cactus Processing and Post-harvest.

  • Prof. W. Swart, Chairman of CePHMa.

  • Ing. Judith Ochoa, Director INDEAS, Argentina.

  • Dr. Liberato Portillo, Coordinator of the Working Group on Cochineal.

  • Dr. Helmut Zimmermann, Independent Consultant, Hemult Zimmmermann and Associates.

  • Dr. Grubachang Singh, Director CSSRI, India

  • Other members of the organizing committee and scientific committee.

  • Other members of CACTUSNET

  • Participants to the Congress.

XI. Itinerary



  • Arrival in João Pessoa

  • Meetings with the President of the Organizing Committee, the CGC of CACTUSNET and the Representative of ISHS.


  • Television interview

  • Meeting with the Organizing Committee

  • Inauguration of the Congress


  • Congress


  • Congress


  • Closing of the Congress

  • Meeting of CACTUSNET

  • Meeting with members of FAEPA


  • Field visit


  • Departure from João Pessoa


  • Arrival in Rome

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