India, US sign pact to promote farm biotechnology

Wednesday, 30 June 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India and the U.S. Tuesday signed an agreement to launch a slew of collaborative programmes in the field of farm biotechnology research and development.

Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal and US ambassador to India David Mulford inked a memorandum of understanding to this effect here.

"The aim of the agreement is to initiate enhanced cooperation in agricultural biotechnology research and development to help improve the quality and quantity of farm productions," Sibal told a press conference here.

"Initially, the collaborative efforts will focus on rice and wheat production. Other areas in the agricultural sector will be covered in a phased manner," he added.

"The focus of this collaborative effort will be on improving productivity as well as nutritional quality of our crops."

The Indian government's Department of Biotechnology and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will be the nodal coordinating agencies for both the countries.

Sibal said the partnership would encourage the creation of partnership between Indian and US institutions to pursue agricultural biotechnology research projects of mutual interest including technology development and bio-safety.

The pact is also likely to include joint workshops, conferences, scientific exchanges and training of scientists.

"The US has a very strategic relationship with India. We are cooperating in a variety of new areas. Among the many areas that this relationship touches agriculture is going to be an important area," said Mulford.

"We are a major agricultural nation and we are interested in making our technology available to others both in terms of investment and trade," he added.

Mulford said the India-US collaboration would increase the safe and environmentally sound technological options available to the producers and consumers of agricultural products.

Source: IANS
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