June 28, 2011


Malaysia builds US$36 million crop research centre



Malaysia has set up a MYR113 million (US$36 million) research centre to study the potential usage of underutilised crops that could potentially diversify global food supply.


The joint venture between the Malaysian government and the University of Nottingham, is designed to evaluate underutilised crops from around the world and will be the "heart of an international effort" to identify crops with potential to be grown for human sustenance or for food, pharmaceuticals, or biomaterials in the climates of the future.


"While dry spells are threatening Europe, floods in China have left one million acres of farmland sodden," said Prime Minister Najib Razak.


"Adding to this is the catastrophe in Japan, increasing oil prices, and continued uncertainty in the world financial markets and it is not surprising that the outlook is bleak," he said.


"The Crops for the Future Research Centre would establish Malaysia as a global hub for research and knowledge transfer in the field of underutilised crops and in the long-run it will make a significant contribution to the nation's food supply and the world," he said.


The government would aid the facility with MYR113 million (US$36 million) over the next seven years, after which the centre is expected to be self-funded.


The facility, located in the University of Nottingham campus near here, will only be completed in 18 months but the research center will start operating by the end of July.

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