Malaysia builds crops research center at 36 million U.S. dollars

09:38, June 28, 2011      

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Malaysia sets up a 113- million-ringgit (36.56 million U.S. dollars) research center to study the underutilized crops that would potentially diversify global food supply.

The Crops for the Future Research Center a joint venture between the government and the University of Nottingham, is designed to evaluate underutilized 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.

"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," Prime Minister Najib Razak told the press as he launched the center on Monday.

"The (Crops for the Future Research Center) would establish Malaysia as a global hub for research and knowledge transfer in the field of underutilized 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 113 million ringgit over the next seven years, after which the center 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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