University of Cambridge signs MoU with Bharti Foundation to promote crop research and productivity improvement

University of Cambridge signs MoU with Bharti Foundation to promote crop research and productivity improvement

·         Three year agreement entails grant from Bharti Foundationto University of Cambridge to conduct the Research Programme

·         Programme to boost corn / baby corn productivity in the country besides strengthening small farmer income in maize growing regions

·         Research to be led by Field Fresh Foods in partnership with Punjab Agricultural University(PAU); field trials to be conducted at Field Fresh’s Agri Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Ludhiana (Punjab)

Chandigarh, September 12, 2016: The University of Cambridge and Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) to conduct corn / baby corn crop improvement research Programme in India. The Programme is scheduled to be funded through a grant from Bharti Foundation to the University of Cambridge. The grant will support a three-year research programme carried out between Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences and the Cambridge Centre for Crop Science (3CS), Punjab Agricultural University and Field Fresh Foods.

The Research Programme will be led by Field Fresh Foods in India in partnership with Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). The field trials during research will be conducted at Field Fresh’s Agri Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Ladhowal (Ludhiana), Punjab, where the Company is currently running various crop management trials and partners with farmers to improve overall crop economics. The ACE is one of its kind facility in the country focusing on one of the most under served sector in the country - 'Horticulture'.

Announcing the initiative, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said,  “We are hugely grateful to the Bharti Foundation for this generous gift, which not only helps us to address one of the fundamental problems facing a growing global population, that of food security, but also strengthens our deep-rooted relationships with India, its universities and industry.”

The collaborative research will examine the relationship between the genetic make-up, environmental factors and crop management of corn in order to develop a production system that is more resilient and helps reduce production costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The findings will be further translated into guidance for small farmers in India to promote sustainability, financial stability and to eradicate food shortages.

Commenting on the research partnership, Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice Chairman, Bharti Enterprises and Co-Founder, Bharti Foundation, said,“Our research partnership with Cambridge University underlines our commitment to support high level research in the country in collaboration with premier institutions. The current Programme will not just significantly impact productivity and farmer income but help promote the cause of sustainable agriculture in the country.”

Corn (Maize) is the third most important cereal crop in India after rice and wheat accounting for ~9 per cent of total food grain production in the country. At 2.5 tonne per hectare, India’s average corn yield is less than half of the global average of 5.5 tonne per hectare.(Source - Industry reports / KPMG, NCDEX)

The research outcomes will be shared with State Agriculture Dept., Agricultural Universities and such other statutory/non-statutory bodies. Additionally, Bharti Foundation in partnership with IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL), a subsidiary of Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), will help in disseminating the outcome of the Research Programme through various digital tools to millions of farmers across the country.