14 January 2011 | EN | FR
India will collaborate with South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa
[LONDON] The Indian and UK governments are tapping into agricultural innovation outside the traditional international development community with the launch of a £20 million (US$32 million) programme for food security (11 January).
Sustainable Crop Production Research for International Development (SCPRID) will allow scientists to research stressors, ranging from pests to climate change, on five key crops — cassava, maize, rice, sorghum and wheat — with a view to boosting sustainable crop yields.
Brian Harris, head of the agriculture and food sector of the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, which is managing the programme, told SciDev.Net that the initiative builds on earlier partnerships with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to "bring new people into the international development field" by encouraging UK scientists to solve practical agricultural problems in developing countries.
The new partnership is bigger than previous ones because it includes the Indian government and the US-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
DFID is supporting the initiative on the basis that innovation in research can come from individual and small-group efforts, as well as larger programmes such as those carried out by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.
The two approaches complement each other, the department believes, and the new programme has many of the features known to be important for the successful use of research for development outcomes, says DFID, such as matching Northern with Southern institutions and facilitating a country such as India in collaborating with Sub-Saharan Africa and other countries in South Asia.
Katherine Kahn, senior programme officer for global development, agricultural development, and science and technology at the Gates Foundation, said that the programme will also encourage scientists in developing countries to lead research projects.
Within the project, one tenth of the funding will go towards Projects for Emerging Research Leaders: developing country scientists doing four-year research programmes in their home country.
"We wanted to encourage those scientists who have really fantastic ideas but are still fairly early-career to submit proposals and get the support that they need," she said.
The Indian government and the Gates Foundation will each contribute US$7.9 million, DFID will provide US$11 million, and the BBSRC US$4.7 million.
The deadline for the first round of proposals is end of March, and it is hoped that research will begin in spring 2012.
Touch ( Approtech Asia | Philippines )
17 January 2011
I am interested to participate in this research. How can we submit a proposal? I am currently a Senior Program Officer of the Approtech Asia and a former Fulbright Fellow from the Philippines.
I have discovered a technology that integrates health in agriculture. The (BOOSTER TECH), Best Organic Solution for Agriculture, reduces cost of production by 30-50 % but increases yield by 20-30 % through a health and environment-friendly technology.
Kingiri ( United Kingdom )
19 January 2011
This sounds like a good collaborative venture and hope it achieves its objective to distinguish it from the others. Is there a consortium coordinating this endeavor and where is it based? Who is the contact point and can we have the details? hat is the role of the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council in this programme?
Ann (Nairobi Kenya)
Prince Pieray Awele Odor ( Pieray Awele @ Associates | Nigeria )
19 January 2011
What motivated this partnership, what is driving it, and what justifies it?
1.The success of the application of “innovation in science and technology” to genetic RE-engineering to produce G.M.Os? or
2.The safety of G.M. foods? or
3.Radical materialism and the culture of death?
Prince Pieray CP Odor
Naomi Antony ( United Kingdom )
21 January 2011
Thanks for your interest. You can find out further information about the initiative here: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/funding/opportunities/2011/1103-sustainable-crop-production-international.aspx
Reji Joseph ( RIS | India )
11 February 2011
This seems a good approach. The crucial question is that how does the term 'sustainability' get imbeded into the project. Current technologies based on gene technology have been proved to be not a sustainable technology solution to the problems facing farming in countries like India where soil structure and climate varies across regions and localities within each region. That is why in a number of instances farmers resorted to their own varieties despite modern varieties being made available from the laboratories. It becomes very important for the success of this project that it builds a bridge between the formal and informal innovations. The research by scientists needs to take into account local requirements.
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