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Major scientific push to tackle agricultural productivity and food security in developing world
Date:2/21/2008

7M of new research is being launched today to tackle some of the most damaging and widespread pests, diseases and harsh environmental conditions which can devastate crop yields across the developing world. Three out of four poor people in developing countries live in rural areas and most depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Increasing agricultural productivity will benefit millions through higher incomes, more and cheaper food, and more jobs in both rural and urban areas.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Department for International Development (DFID) are unveiling 12 new projects as part of their flagship initiative Sustainable Agriculture Research for International Development (SARID) - to harness the UKs world class bioscience research base to address the challenges of agriculture and food security in developing countries.

The new projects 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. Their findings will offer new and exciting opportunities to develop crops better able to survive and thrive in their changing environments. Such advances in crop science could revolutionise the way farmers are able to farm across the developing world and have a significant impact on reducing poverty.

Commenting on the new research, Gareth Thomas, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development and Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, said: "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."

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Contact: Nancy Mendoza
press.office@bbsrc.ac.uk
01-793-413-355
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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