Agri Business

Bharti Foundation, Cambridge University team up for crop research

| | Updated on: Sep 12, 2016

The University of Cambridge and Bharti Foundation — the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises — on Monday signed an MoU to conduct research to improve the yield of corn in India. The research will aim to develop a production system that is more resilient and helps reduce production costs and improve farmer incomes.

The ₹5-crore grant by Bharti Foundation will support a three-year research programme carried out between Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences and the Cambridge Centre for Crop Science (3CS), Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and FieldFresh Foods (the joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Del Monte Pacific Ltd).

“The grant will be in two phases. The funding to Cambridge will be sent directly by Bharti Foundation in a phased manner in the next three years and for the Indian side, the cost will be met here,” Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice-Chairman, Bharti Enterprises and Co-Founder, Bharti Foundation, told BusinessLine.

Field trials

The field trials will be conducted at FieldFresh’s Agri Centre of Excellence in Ladhowal in Ludhiana (Punjab), where the company is currently running various crop management trials and partners with farmers to improve overall crop economics.

The research outcomes will be shared with the State Agriculture Department, agricultural universities and other statutory/ non-statutory bodies. The Bharti Foundation, in partnership with IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Ltd (a subsidiary of Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd), will disseminate the findings through digital tools to farmers across India.

Commenting on the initiative, Howard Griffiths, Director of Studies in Plant Sciences, Professor of Plant Ecology, University of Cambridge, said: “The goal of this programme is to generate simple means by which we can communicate with farmers … how best to improve their agri practices, the timing of when they add their fertiliser, the spacing needed to put between crops to maximise productivity. We hope to develop the models that will allow local climatic conditions to be taken into account.”

Researchers from PAU will also be closely working on this project. “For this programme, they’ve identified two post doctoral research associates who will work with the team of FieldFresh and the team from Cambridge,” Mittal added.

Published on January 16, 2018

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