Agri Business

Indo-UK collaboration in agri sector to expand

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 24, 2020 Published on January 24, 2020

File photo   -  REUTERS

As part of the Transforming India’s Green Revolution and Empowerment for Sustainable Food Supplies (TIGR2ESS) programme, a fellowship programme will soon be rolled out jointly by India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), according to Howard Griffiths, Principal Investigator for the TIGR2ESS program and the University of Cambridge’s advocate in Cambridge-India relations. This will further strengthen agriculture research in the country.

The fellowship will facilitate 30 Indian researchers to undertake work at crop science universities in the UK for two years, he announced at the four-day, General Assembly of TIGR2ESS (), a UK-India research programme launched in 2018.

Around a hundred scientists from 20 research institutes and varied disciplines, who gathered at ICRISAT from January 20, to discuss an India-UK joint research program, called for more interdisciplinary research to make Indian agriculture sustainable in a changing world and to ensure food security.

Rajeev Gupta, co-lead in one of the flagship projects said, the multidisciplinary approach of TIGR2ESS is crucial for India’s Green Revolution to reach the next level. “Screening of several hundred lines of sorghum and pearl millet for water use efficiency is among the many areas where the project has made progress since its inception,” Gupta, a Principal Scientist at ICRISAT who oversees genomics and crop trait discovery, said.

“India is among the top producers of dairy, rice, wheat and pulses. It has seen around 2 per cent productivity gains in crops like pearl millet, owing to hybridisation and the private sector. In Africa, productivity is either stable or declining. Why are we lagging so far in Africa?” asked Peter Carberry, Director General, ICRISAT, while emphasising on the need for transferring the learnings and successes from the program to sub-Saharan Africa.

The program seeks to address four key research questions: (1) What should an Evergreen Revolution deliver? (2) Can crop productivity increase, whilst maintaining yield stability? (3) Can water supplies be shared to match community demand?, and (4) How can we best engage and educate for local community well-being?

These questions are being answered by six distinct, but fully integrated, flagship projects which rely on research collaborations, exchanges and women empowerment.

To strengthen collaboration between India and the UK’s scientific institutions and to build research capacity, over 50 early career researchers, from both within and beyond TIGR2ESS, are receiving training in key research skills ―from writing research grant applications to deep learning with artificial intelligence during the Assembly.

Published on January 24, 2020
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