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Cornell and India sign new agreement for agricultural development

Ronnie Coffman and Mangala Rai
Robert Barker/University Photography
Ronnie Coffman, director of International Programs in CALS, left, shakes hands with Mangala Rai, secretary and director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research at the Ramada Inn in Ithaca Dec. 12 following the signing of a renewed memorandum of understanding.

Exchanging scientific information freely, forging cooperative research, hosting Indian executives, students and faculty, and sharing agricultural biotechnology to promote the development and use of drought- and pest-resistant crops. These were just a few of the collaborations that were strengthened when Susan A. Henry, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell, signed a renewed memorandum of understanding with officials representing the Indian Council of Agricultural Research on Dec. 12.

The agreement was signed during a visit to Cornell by Indian senior executives and government officials on the board of the newly formed Knowledge Initiative in Agricultural Education, Teaching, Research, Service and Commercial Linkages (KIA).

"KIA is an initiative, signed between U.S. President George Bush and India's Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh in July, that provides momentum to re-energize the longstanding tradition of knowledge exchange between the two countries," said Ronnie Coffman, director of International Programs in CALS.

"We at Cornell are incredibly fortunate that Cornell is so high on the KIA team's list for collaborations that the delegation chose to visit only Cornell on this trip," added Coffman.

The Indian team members visited labs and faculty members associated with Cornell's Institute for Genomic Diversity, Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell Cooperative Extension, organic agriculture, Mann Library, Veterinary College, rice mapping, poultry program, food retail program, Food Science Incubator and Cornell Center for Technology, Enterprise and Commercialization.

"We are very active in agricultural research in India, and renewing a memo of understanding with them builds on our more than 50 years of Cornell-India collaborations concerning agricultural education and research," said K.V. Raman, associate director of international programs in CALS.

Among Cornell-India links are:

  • extension/outreach services to Indian farmers on agricultural technologies;
  • an international agriculture course that sends 50 Cornell students to India each January to tour with Indian agricultural students and faculty;
  • the Agri/Food Business Management Program and the Food Retail Executive Program that bring high-level Indian policy planners, food industry CEOs and faculty to Cornell each year;
  • National biotechnology symposia, conducted with the government of India, to inform Indian stakeholders with emerging trends in global biotechnology;
  • the Rice-Wheat Consortium and System for Rice Intensification programs to promote rice and wheat production in India;
  • the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project to address such issues as pest control, drought and intellectual property technology management in India.

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