High-level Scientific and Technological Support for the Billion Agave Project

On May 8th, a collaboration agreement was signed in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, between the Center for Research and Assistance in Technology and Design of the State of Jalisco (CIATEJ) and Regeneration International (RI), in order to strengthen and promote the Billion Agave Project (BAP) in the following areas: research and scientific and technological transfer, project development and implementation, human resources, dissemination, training and institutional services. The agreement was signed by Dr. Eugenia del Carmen Lugo Cervantes, Director General of CIATEJ and Luis Arturo Carrillo Sánchez, Coordinator of the BAP.

The establishment of this agreement is part of one of BAP’s strategic axes of development, which is to formalize and consolidate an active network of collaboration with various entities from the social, community, academic, public and private sectors, to enable the implementation of the project on a national scale.

This alliance with CIATEJ, one of the most prestigious research centers in Mexico and a leader in agave research, is of paramount importance for the BAP, since some of the productive projects that are being promoted through this initiative require the knowledge already developed by this research center. Such is the case of the extraction and characterization of agave inulin, which is a family of complex sugars with multiple beneficial properties for health and highly demanded in the food and pharmaceutical sector, and whose market is growing.

Adding value to agave cultivation through the implementation of sustainable productive projects that diversify its use, such as the extraction and commercialization of inulin, is one of the BAP’s strategies to encourage producers to establish agroecological agave-based plantations that strengthen bioculturality and contribute to carbon sequestration, as well as to the ecological, social and economic regeneration of the territory.

Photo credit: Joel Caldwell

Agave can be harvested from the root to the stalks. However, in some regions, the industry has focused on taking advantage of only some of its products, as is the case of tequila derived from blue agave in the state of Jalisco or the fiber obtained from henequen in Yucatan. This is why the BAP seeks to rescue the millenary vision of holistic use, generating projects that add social, economic and environmental value.

During the event, the scientific and technological capabilities of CIATEJ were highlighted through its five lines of research: Plant Biotechnology, Industrial Biotechnology, Food Technology, Environmental Technology and Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. These capabilities were presented with the objective of actively participating in the project, taking advantage of the vast experience accumulated in topics related to agave, from its cultivation to the management and reuse of residues.

Several organizations, institutions and companies attended to this event, including the Agaveros en Alianza, agave and raicilla producers, the Centro de Biotecnología Genómica del Instituto Politécnico Nacional, the Centro Universitario de Ciencias Biológicas y Agropecuarias de la Universidad de Guadalajara, the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias sede Jalisco, the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, the National Forestry Commission, the Subdirectory of Technological Innovation and Science Linkage of the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Rancho El Mexicano, the Subsecretaría de Fomento e Innovación Económica de Nuevo León, the company Sarape Social, and the Agricultural and Agroindustrial Council of the State of Jalisco.

At the end of the event, a tour of the CIATEJ facilities was conducted so that they could learn first-hand about its capabilities and resources, thus facilitating future collaborations.