Icrisat plans rice biotech park

Hyderabad, Feb 14 | Updated: Feb 15 2005, 05:33am hrs
For the first time, rice research is finally getting a boost through biotechnology. A rice biotech park is being proposed by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat) in association with Directorate of Rice Research (DRR) and Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU). To be located on the Icrisat premises, the park is expected to take shape by the end of this year.

Icrisat director general William Dar told FE collaborative efforts among DRR, Icrisat and ANGRAU would increase the research activities using biotech tools. We are planning to work on transgenics and new varieties of rice which can be cultivated in different climatic conditions, Dr Dar said. The detailed project report has been prepared and we are awaiting budget support from the state government, he added without disclosing the amount sought.

Icrisat is working on public-private sector partnerships through the agri-science park which has become the social marketing initiative of Icrisat. With four components like the agri-biotech park, agri-business incubator, public-private sector research consortia and SAT eco-venture, projects are on the anvil for more collaborations for its agri-biotech park.

Three ventures have commenced in the agri-biotech park. Facility for testing aflatoxin contamination in food crops is one among them. The two other collaborations are with Avesthagen and Suri Sehgal foundation. About 10 companies have joined a new private sector, biopesticide research consortium. The consortium will work for the development and commercialisation of biopesticides developed and tested by Icrisat, Dr Dar said.

Four companies have joined agri-business incubator to incubate technologies. They include: Rusni Distilleries for the production of ethanol from sweet sorghum; Bioseed Research Ltd for developing transgenic cotton; Seed Works Ltd for transgenic cotton and vegetables and Sessler Tom and Hyglas for developing fermentor and agricultural implements.