After a year and a half of work and constant meetings, the Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), the Chilean Association of Pig Farmers (Asprocer) and the Pig Improvement Company (PIC) have begun to see the progress made by the project to build a center for research, technological innovation, and training for the country’s pork industry.
Thus, last March the green light was given to the construction of the first pig research center in South America, which will be located on university facilities in Pirque, outside Santiago.
The initiative contemplates the using 1.5 hectares to build production panels, research laboratories, and offices for the training of students and professionals who want to specialize in the area of pork production. The objective is to allow Chile to compete with the top global players.
“The countries that are a reference in this sector have achieved that because, in addition to production, they have progressed throughout the entire chain. In other words, they generate information, engage in research and train professionals. We believe that Chile needed to invest in this in order to play in the big leagues,” explained Patricio Vidal, PIC general manager in Chile.
Likewise, another one of the goals being pursued is to improve the sector’s competitiveness by providing applied research support in the areas of food, nutrition, productive management, health, innocuousness, and the environment, among others.
“Producers wanted to have a national and international reference in terms of high-level research that could be done in Chile and where they could also evaluate their inputs, the vast majority of which are imported,” said Fernando Gonzalez, an academic at the PUC and director of the project.
The total amount allocated to the creation of the center is around US$ 1.5 million, of which almost half will be provided by Innova Corfo, with the possibility that the budget might grow due to the interest expressed by some of the companies in the sector, such as Agrosuper, which has explicitly stated its intention to support the initiative.
With the intention of attaining increased specialization, the center will also have work agreements and networks with other establishments. The idea is to find room to provide integrated training to national and foreign undergraduate and postgraduate students and area professionals from the academic, public, and private sectors.
“In the future we hope for the facility to be recognized as a world-class center for pig research that can satisfy the requirements of the industry and the academic sector,” stressed Asprocer president Miguel Ovalle.
The facility’s inauguration is planned for August this year, an opening that involves the commitment to make the facility a center that is sustainable over time. “We hope to achieve that goal after three years of Corfo support,” González concluded.