Research into underutilised crops gets Malaysian funding

By Ankush Chibber

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition Agriculture

Research into underutilised crops gets Malaysian funding
The Malaysian government has award US$38 m in funding to a research centre to study underutilised crops that can be used in new and existing food products.

Launched at the end of June, the Kuala Lumpur-based Crops for the Future Research Centre (CFFRC) is a joint venture between the government and UK-based University of Nottingham.

According to a statement, the centre will operate within the mandate and under the aegis of Crops for the Future (CFF), an initiative of the International Centre for Underutilised Crops.

Sayed Azam Ali, CEO at CFFRC said that whilst the CFFRC is based in Malaysia, it has a global remit and therefore can work with partners from anywhere on underutilised crops for food uses.

“Our mandate will be to focus on underutilised crops, which are not currently supported through the International Agricultural Research System,” ​he said.

The selection of particular crops for the research program will be through a strategy review, according to Ali.

“A consultative process is now underway to establish a CFFRC Research Strategy, and it will be launched on December 1, 2011,”​ said Ali.

Ali added however that the approach would be to establish a ‘research value chain’ for exemplar crops that will go from seed systems to marketing of food products.

“The crops could include examples of fruits, vegetables and staples that provide nutritional and dietary products as well as social and economic value,”​ he said.

According to Ali, the Malaysian government funding will be for a period of 7 years, which will cover the capital, costs of new facilities and the operational costs to maintain these facilities.

“Whilst support has been secured for facilities and operational costs, the additional costs of research activities will need to be secured from project contracts with sponsors and partnerships with the public and private sectors” ​he said.

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