Washington, February 22 : The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK are launching 12 new projects to address the challenges of agriculture and food security in developing countries.
Such projects are parts of their flagship initiative Sustainable Agriculture Research for International Development (SARID), aimed at harnessing the country's world-class bioscience research base to improve the condition of agriculture in the developing world.
The seven-million-pound research will look at how a variety of crops - from maize to coconuts, rice to bananas - respond at a molecular level to hostile factors including attack by pests and diseases as well as inclement conditions.
It is believed that the findings of these projects may offer new and exciting opportunities to develop crops that are better able to survive and thrive in their changing environments, which may help revolutionise the farming sector across the developing world and reduce poverty.
"Investing in science and research is essential to provide poor farmers with the seeds, knowledge and tools they need to make a better life for themselves. This research, bringing together UK, African and Asian scientists, has the potential to revolutionise farming in the developing world and reduce global poverty. The UK is delighted to support this initiative," said Gareth Thomas, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development and Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.
Minister for Science and Innovation Ian Pearson also welcomed the new research initiative, saying: "This is a true demonstration of how scientific research can help find solutions to the major challenges facing the world and improve the quality of life for millions in developing countries."
All these projects involve unique partnerships between UK scientists and researchers from institutions in Africa, Asia and elsewhere.
"Bioscience research can make a vital contribution to improving sustainable agriculture across the globe. These projects will build on the world-leading research on fundamental plant science and plant disease in the UK and apply this to crops of importance in the developing world, increasing yields and helping to alleviate the suffering of millions living in poverty," BBSRC Interim Chief Executive Steve Visscher said.