India and Australia have signed a pact to boost horticultural research in a bid to develop and deploy modern tools of plant biotechnology to improve crop productivity with a funding commitment of up to Australian $ 6 million over a period of three years.

The pact was signed between the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a public sector enterprise, and Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) on Friday for launching a joint funding call to support research and development (R&D) organisations and other eligible entities to undertake novel and cutting-edge strategic translational research in horticulture at affordable costs, an official release said.

“Considering the gap between demand and supply for crops, it is of paramount importance to stimulate an enabling environment for R&D in both the regions. Through the signing of this memorandum of understanding, we along with Hort Innovation aim to create a supportive ‘innovation ecosystem’ for researchers to undertake high-level research and promote horticulture techniques,” said K. Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), in a statement.

David Moore, General Manager of Research Marketing and Investment, Hort Innovation, said,  “We are pleased that our collaboration with BIRAC will allow for the exchange of skills, knowledge and information between horticulturalists of both the regions.”