U.S. Embassy APHIS and Commercial officials
tour sorghum farm in Colonia
The sorghum seeds, provided by the
University of Mississippi and the U.S. Department of State,
are the first ever planted in Uruguay
U.S. Embassy representatives Robert Gorter,
Commercial Section, Ricardo Romero, Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service (APHIS), and intern Jason Manwaring traveled
on Feb. 26 to Centro Immanuel (CE), an ecumenical farm in
Colonia. The group viewed the growth of sorghum seed, procured
in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State and University
CE is a NGO that promotes good agriculture practices by
combining organic and sustainable production systems. The
center has a small research center to test its agricultural
practices, including minimum tillage, organic fertilizers
(manure and natural pest control), and crop rotations for
livestock and grain (and other by-products) production.
In 2003, CE requested assistance from the US Embassy, Montevideo,
to import 36 KG of sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) to initiate
research in sugar/sweetener production.
This is the first time sweet sorghum has been planted in
Uruguay. It will have two uses: sugar/molasses and cattle
feed. With a three-month growth cycle, Uruguay has an ideal
climate conditions for sorghum, allowing two harvests per
year. With the harvest drawing near, administrators invited
embassy staff to see the fruits of their cooperative efforts.
During the visit, farmers showed 10 hectares of sorghum
planted with US seeds. Because of their successful experience,
CE requested assistance for starting a cooperative agreement
with the University of Mississippi for testing new sorghum
varieties in Uruguay.