In a bid to increase the productivity of varieties of corn, the Bharti Foundation, an arm of Bharti Enterprises on Monday signed a pact with University of Cambridge for carrying out collaborative research for three years.
According to Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice chairman, Bharti Enterprises, the foundation will grant Rs 5 crore to Cambridge university’s department of plant sciences and centre for crop science to carry out research for increasing corn productivity along with Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana and FieldFresh Foods, a JV between between Bharti Enterprises and Del Monte Pacific Limited.
The field trials during research will be conducted at FieldFresh’s Agri Centre of Excellence located at Ladhowal, Ludhiana, Punjab, where the company is currently running various crop management trials to improve overall crop management.
“We will share the outcome of the research with the state agricultural department and universities besides Indian Council for Agricultural Research, an arm of agriculture ministry so that more farmers get the benefit of higher corn yield,” Mittal told FE.
Besides, the research would help farmers in Punjab shifting from growing water intensive rice to corn which would curb falling groundwater level in the state. Besides the farmers from Maharashtra are also expected to benefit from this research collaboration on corn.
Mittal also said that the foundation in collaboration with Kisan Sanchar Limited, a subsidiary of Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), will help in disseminating the outcome of the corn research programme through various digital tools to large number of farmers across the country.
The corn or maize is the third most important cereal crop in the country after rice and wheat. Maize accounts for around 9% of total food grain production.
Mittal said that at 2.5 tonne yield per hectare, the country’s average corn yield is less than half of the global average of 5.5 tonne per hectare.