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

e new research, Ian Pearson, Minister for Science and Innovation, said: "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."

BBSRC Interim Chief Executive, Steve Visscher, said: 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.

All of the projects unveiled today involve unique partnerships between UK scientists and researchers from institutions in Africa, Asia and elsewhere.

Details of all the projects being funded by the new initiative are available in a media briefing at http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/media/briefings/080221_sarid.pdf

Examples include:

Halting armyworm rampage with biological pesticide - the African armyworm is a major migratory insect pest, which feeds voraciously on cereal crops. Using a radical new solution, researchers from the UK, Canada and Tanzania will investigate the use of a naturally occurring virus in armyworms with a view to using it as a biological pesticide. Defeating witchweed famine threat - subsistence crops relied on by billions are at constant risk of attack by the noxious parasitic plant witchweed. Researchers the UK, India and Senegal are identifying ways to protect the livelihoods of some of the world's poorest farmers by developing resistant crops.

Improving food security for 500M people - Pearl millet provides food security for half a billion people in Africa and Asia. The crop is well adapted to harsh environments but climate change is threatening the pre
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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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