ICRISAT Deputy Director General for Research Dr CLL Gowda exchanging the signed MoU with HIA Director Mr David Cliffe at the ICRISAT global headquarters in Hyderabad, India.

Hyderabad, India (2 December 2014). A new research agreement was signed today between the Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) at the institute’s global headquarters in Hyderabad, India. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will allow researchers from ICRISAT and Australian agencies to undertake joint research and development (R&D) in plant genomics for the first time through HIA. The agreement was signed by Mr David Cliffe, HIA Director and Dr William Dar, ICRISAT Director General.

 “We are excited that through this collaboration with HIA, ICRISAT and Australia will be doing not only high-quality but also high-impact research that is expected to reach and benefit millions of farmers and consumers globally,” said Dr Dar of the agreement.

 Acknowledging the support from ICRISAT, Mr Cliffe emphasized the importance of the new partnership. “HIA is glad to start this collaboration with ICRISAT in the area of modern genome science including sequencing, genotyping and functional genomics, that will help advance the horticulture industry in Australia and worldwide.”

“We have completed the genome sequencing of reference genomes of leading legume crops such as chickpea and pigeonpea, having sequenced the genomes of more than 1000 lines of these legumes. We are very keen to work with HIA to accelerate their efforts in the area of genome sequencing and analysis,” said Dr Rajeev Varshney, Director of ICRISAT’s Center of Excellence in Genomics and the Research Program on Grain Legumes. Dr Varshney is a world leader in applied genomics in field crops, and has strong linkages with a number of Australian researchers.

“The application of genomic tools has tremendous potential in reducing the breeding cycle in horticultural crops for the benefit of the Australian industries,” said Dr Alok Kumar from HIA, who negotiated for the research partnership between ICRISAT and HIA.

Dr David Moore, General Manager, HIA and several researchers from the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; the University of Queensland; and the Queensland University of Agriculture & Technology (QUT) are visiting India as part of the HIA-led delegation.

Both ICRISAT and HIA have committed to explore other areas of research in a number of horticultural crops.