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1971: Memorandum of Understanding for the Establishment of the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) signed on 22 May. Signatories: Asian Development Bank, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, United States, Vietnam.

Hweb_002_Conference-on-the-establishment-of-AVRDC1971: AVRDC Board of Directors meets for the first time on 24 May. Dr. T.H. Shen of the Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction is the first chairman. Dr. Robert Chandler from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) appointed as first AVRDC Director General on September 10.

1972: Construction of the Center begins in January.

1973: The new AVRDC campus is dedicated on October 17. At the dedication ceremony, guest speaker Prof. Henry A. Munger, Plant Breeder, Cornell University, said “Vegetables have been the most neglected group of crops in relation to their potential for improving nutrition in the tropics.”

Hweb_003_Bird-view-1973b1973: First field experiments planted in early September. In December, the new Center’s crop portfolio was narrowed to six vegetables: tomato, soybean, mungbean, sweet potato, white potato, Chinese cabbage.

1974: A program to deal with pesticide residue on vegetables initiated by entomologist Dr. N.S. Talekar in February.

1974: 2000 soybean accessions were evaluated for sensitivity to photoperiod and temperature; lines with resistance to several pests and diseases were selected for breeding programs. 500 mungbean accessions were added to the AVRDC collection. Several AVRDC-bred mungbean lines yielded three times the average in Southeast Asia.

1975: The Center’s second Director General, Dr. James C. Moomaw, reorganizes the staff to work in multidisciplinary teams, pooling knowledge to focus on specific problems.

1975: “Policymakers as well as housewives need to be informed about basic nutritional requirements and how such requirements can be satisfied.” — James C. Moomaw

1976: First training course conducted at AVRDC in February. Twelve trainees from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan attended.

1976: Seventeen conferences held at Center headquarters covering a variety of vegetable research topics and attracting international participants.

Hweb_004_DSC_00371977: The Center’s outreach programs for the Philippines and Korea are integrated into national agricultural research networks.

1977: AVRDC tomato breeders use Lycopersicum pimpinellifolium (now Solanum pimpinellifolium), a wild tomato from Peru, as a source of resistance to bacterial wilt.

1978: The Center convenes the First International Symposium on the Tropical Tomato, bringing together 140 participants from 20 countries.

1979: The white potato breeding program comes to a successful close after scientists accomplish the goal of breeding a heat-tolerant and disease-resistant white potato for the Asian tropics.

1979: AVRDC’s improved mungbean lines distributed to 35 countries for testing.