Newsroom  Press releases  2003

1) ICRISAT signs MOU with Genome Valley for Biotech Park

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Genome Valley-Hyderabad, Government of Andhra Pradesh, to jointly promote an Agri-Biotech Park at the Institute's Patancheru campus. The Agri-Biotech Park will attract world-class agri-biotech companies, corporations and foundations to establish their R&D units.

The Genome Valley concept of the Andhra Pradesh Government visualizes a series of industrial parks, spread in and around Hyderabad, where biotech companies can establish R&D and manufacturing units. The Government has identified the biotech sector as one of the Engines of Growth in its Vision 2020 document. The Agri-Biotech Park at ICRISAT will specialise in technologies specifically related to agriculture.

Mr BP Acharya, Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Government of Andhra Pradesh, and Dr William Dar, Director General, ICRISAT signed the MOU, in the presence of Mr B Gopalakrishna Reddy, Minister for Small-Scale Industries and Biotechnology, Government of Andhra Pradesh.

According to Dr Dar, the signing of the MOU is a significant milestone in the Institute's initiative to build partnerships with the Andhra Pradesh Government. ICRISAT is privileged to contribute to the Government's vision of fostering biotechnology in the state.

The Agri-Biotech Park will bring together the expertise available at ICRISAT, the state government and world-class private sector companies, Dr Dar added. Importantly, the Park will also strengthen ICRISAT's efforts at taking the fruits of biotechnology, through crop improvement, to the poor and marginal farmers of the semi-arid tropics in Asia and Africa.

The Agri-Biotech Park provides investors an opportunity to tap into ICRISAT's upstream research expertise as well as its world-class infrastructure. ICRISAT has been working with biotechnology for more than a decade to rapidly improve its mandate crops – pearl millet, sorghum, chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut – through molecular marker-assisted breeding and the development of transgenics.

The facilities available at ICRISAT include:

  • Applied Genomics Lab (including high throughput genotyping facility)
  • Genetic Transformation Lab
  • Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics facility
  • Intellectual Property management office
  • Technology Innovation Center (TIC)

Recently, ICRISAT announced the launch of the field trials for the world's first genetically modified pigeonpea that resists Helicoverpa armigera, the pod borer, a particularly troublesome insect pest. In 2002, the Instititute announced the contained field trials of world's first transgenic groundnuts that were modified to resist a serious disease called Indian peanut clump virus.

Some private sector companies have shown interest to establish their facilities at the Park. Avesthagen, a Bangalore-based biotechnology company, has already started a quality assurance service facility in the Agri-Biotech Park at ICRISAT.

For further information, contact either Dr Farid Waliyar at f(dot)waliyar(at)cgiar(dot)org  or Jonathan Crouch at j(dot)h(dot)crouch(at)cgiar(dot)org.

by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.