India and Australia’s similarities point to ag-tech collaborations, says Indian professor

Similarities in India’s and Australia’s climates and crop patterns could provide an opportunity for collaborations in agricultural research and biotechnology development for greater food security, according to an award-winning scientist from Jawaharlal Nehru University visiting the University of Melbourne.

Professor Ashwani Pareek, Executive Director at India’s National Agrifood Biotechnology Institute (NABI), visited the University of Melbourne’s Dookie campus near Shepparton in July, where he exchanged knowledge with researchers and students, including staff from the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub. The areas he discussed included developing high-yielding, stress-resilient crops, and controlling food contamination after harvest.

Left to right: Professor Giovanni Turchini, Head of the School of Agriculture, Food and Ecocsystem Sciences, Professor Ashwani Pareek, Professor Moira O'Brien, Dean of Science, and Associate Professor Alex Johnson.

He also presented a seminar entitled ‘Agri-Innovations and Circular Bioeconomy’ that was jointly hosted by the School of Agriculture, Food and Ecosystem Sciences and the School of BioSciences at the University’s Parkville campus.

Professor Pareek explained the science behind food production and processing innovations created at NABI and at the Centre of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing using a transdisciplinary approach. He also shared his work in plant biotechnology, developing stress tolerant rice, that was recognised by a national award from the Indian President.

Greg Harper, Dr Surinder Singh Chauhan and Associate Professor Alex Johnson played leading roles in facilitating Professor Pareek’s valuable visit.