The Minister Of Rural Affairs Arvo Aller opened today the newly renovated and furnished laboratory building at the Estonian Crop Research Institute (ETKI) in Jõgeva. The renovated laboratory building is a gift for the 100th jubilee of ETKI. "We are going forward with innovation, research and development, which must have the appropriate conditions. The obligation of the Ministry of Rural Affairs is to help in creation the appropriate conditions in this scientific institute. I am pleased that Jõgeva breeders got themselves a modern working environment. Hopefully, its impact will be reflected in the new varieties and in the higher yields of Estonian farmers," said Minister of Rural Affairs Arvo Aller at the opening ceremony of the new building.

In the reconstructed laboratory will work 20 employees in plant protection, plant biotechnology and in the genebank. There are considerably better conditions created for the propagation and long-term preservation of tissue cultures, molecular analyses and plant cultivation in the greenhouse.

"Moving to laboratory brings plant biotechnologists closer to breeders and thereby promotes the use of genetic markers in plant breeding. New equipment makes it possible to significantly increase the volume of genetic analysis and to introduce new methods of plant biotechnology, " pointed out the Head of the Plant Biotechnology Department, Kristiina Laanemets.

The laboratory has a modern greenhouse, where could be conducted different observations of plant diseases and modern breeding activities. In seven separate boxes light, humidity and temperature conditions can be adjusted. As well the conditions for preservation of the accessions are improved in the genebank.

In the reconstructed laboratory, the possibility to initiate marker breeding and to conduct plant disease analyses are increased. "Working conditions are improving considerably in the laboratory. New rooms and new technology have allowed us to recruit new young scientists," mentioned the Plant Protection Department's Head, Pille Sooväli.

The total investment was close to EUR 740 000, which included the reparation of the building and the costs of the state's real estate company (RKAS), which funded the reconstruction of the laboratory.

In the near future, ETKI is planning to build three new buildings to improve research conditions. These include the universal hall for storage of experimental techniques and drying and sorting of breeding materials by scientists, and cold storage for the long-term preservation of seeds. Secondly, the second breeding centre with the laboratories and premises for the breeders of vegetables and forage grasses and the workers of the agro-technology department. Thirdly, a new main building is planned to be built, as well as the greenhouse for the continuation of potato breeding activities.

In addition to the Minister of Rural Affairs and the Chancellor, ETKI employees, the management of ETKI, the deputy mayor of Jõgeva municipality, representatives of Riigi Kinnisvara AS and the builder Arens Ehitus participated in today's opening.

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