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Canadian help in setting up agri-food cluster in Punjab

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Dec 5 (UNI) Canada today signed two agreements with India to help set up an agri food cluster at Mohali, Punjab, the first such cluster in the country.

The cluster, spread across 150 acres, will be built within two years.

Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal who was present during the signing of the agreement said the cluster will be a symbol of what we can do in the rest of the country.

Expressing grave concern over 1.7 per cent agricultural growth in the last quarter, he said it should be more than four per cent for India to have a ten per cent GDP growth.

The cluster is part of the 350 acre knowledge city promised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year.

The cluster, a symbol of Indo-Canadian cooperation will have national agri food bio technology institute and a bio processing unit to sprovide scale-up facilities. Both are planned to come up as autonomous institutions under the department of bio tecghhnology in an agri-food bio tech park designed to house start-up companies.

The cluster ''will be used for linkages with other agri and food institutes,'' said Dr N K Bhan, Secretary, Dept of Bio-tech, who signed with an MOU with Canada's Deputy Minister Agriculture and Agri Foods Leonard Edwards.

The identified foods include, agriculture and food processing storage, bio pesticides and bio fertlizers, functional and nutraceutical food and impact on human nutrition, agricultural biotechnology, bio mass utilisation, sustainable alternative energy and environmental technology and water quality.

The second MOU was signed by the department of bio-technologyand the National Research council, Canada to harness plants for improving human and animal health.

It has been agreed that to begin with, a workshop on plants for health' will be organised by NRC plant biotechnology institute, Saskatoon during March 2007.


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