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Delegation seeks cooperation with NZ scientists

International delegation seeks cooperation with New Zealand scientists
22 January 2008

A delegation from India is visiting Crop & Food Research this week to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, which should prove mutually beneficial to crop science both within India and New Zealand.

The Indian delegates are from ICRISAT, which is a non-profit and non-political research organisation with funding from the United Nations, and the Government of Andhra Pradesh. The aim of ICRISAT is to reduce poverty, enhance food and nutritional security and protect the environment of the semi-arid tropics by helping empower the poor through science with a human face.

The officials are discussing with Crop & Food Research their plans for a Bio Food Knowledge Centre, to be established at the ICRISAT AgriScience Park in Hyderbad (Capital of Andhra Pradesh State). The Park is planned to support the development of the local Indian and international food processing industries.

India produces about 600 million tonnes of food products annually, yet India’s share in the international food trade is only 1.5%. The Indian Government’s Ministry of Food Processing estimates the size of the processed food industry at Rs 1440 billion (US$36 billion). Food production in India is expected to double in the next 10 years, and the consumption of value added food is also expected to grow quickly. Fruit and vegetable processing is expected to increase from 2% of total production to 10%, by 2010.

It is expected that the Memorandum of Understanding will lead to exchanges between scientists, as well as new initiatives to develop and commercialise agri biotechnology for the Indian market.

This visit by the Indian delegation to New Zealand follows a visit by Crop & Food Research’s Senior Investments Manager, Tracy Thompson, to Andhra Pradesh in April 2007.

Mr Thompson says he expects Crop & Food Research’s involvement with ICRISAT to particularly focus around crops such as millet, sorghum, pigeon and chick peas.

“I think it is our innovative thinking which is attracting more and more interest from countries like India,” says Mr Thompson. “Our rural industries and our scientists have excellent working relationships and these close relationships can drive innovation, helping to make us competitive on the world stage.”

The MoU was signed this afternoon (22 January) between William Dar, Director General, ICRISAT, and Crop & Food Research CEO Mark Ward.

ENDS

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