Strength­en­ing con­nec­tions

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Christmas Lights -

The Aus­tralian Grains Genebank has con­tin­ued to build on its global rep­u­ta­tion, wel­com­ing sci­en­tists from Myan­mar who trav­elled from South East Asia to Hor­sham to see first-hand how the world-class fa­cil­ity op­er­ates.

Genebank leader Dr Sally Nor­ton wel­comed the del­e­ga­tion from Myan­mar’s Min­istry of Food and Agri­cul­ture.

The vis­i­tors in­cluded di­rec­tor gen­eral Naing Kyi Win, genebank head Dr Minn San Thein and data­base man­age­ment spe­cial­ist Ohn Mar Aung.

Dur­ing their week-long stay, the in­ter­na­tional guests had a broad over­view of genebank ac­tiv­i­ties, learn­ing what the cen­tre did and why.

Ohn Mar Aung stayed on for a fur­ther three weeks to get a deeper un­der­stand­ing of how the genebank op­er­ated.

The vis­it­ing sci­en­tists were in­volved in seed-iden­ti­fi­ca­tion ac­tiv­i­ties and shown pro­to­cols for the stor­age and safe­keep­ing of crop germplasm.

Dr Nor­ton said the aim of the study tour, sup­ported by the Craw­ford Fund, was to im­prove ca­pac­ity build­ing in genebank op­er­a­tion.

“The vis­i­tors learnt about meth­ods and pro­cesses that are in line with in­ter­na­tional genebank stan­dards,” she said.

“Im­por­tantly, it was also an op­por­tu­nity for in­for­ma­tion ex­change with our AGG staff learn­ing from our guests and lead­ing to pos­si­ble col­lab­o­ra­tion in the fu­ture.” Myan­mar has a na­tional genebank, which houses about 20,000 ac­ces­sions of grain crops and some vegeta­bles.

Dr Nor­ton said on their re­turn to Myan­mar, the vis­it­ing sci­en­tists would pass on their new knowl­edge to their col­leagues.

Ohn Mar Aung said the visit would sup­port fu­ture col­lab­o­ra­tion in the con­ser­va­tion and use of crop ge­netic re­sources be­tween Myan­mar’s na­tional gene bank and the Aus­tralian Grains Genebank.

“We learnt a lot about crop germplasm man­age­ment that will en­able us to have fruit­ful dis­cus­sions of mu­tual ben­e­fit,” she said.

The num­ber of in­ter­na­tional vis­it­ing sci­en­tists un­der­tak­ing re­search with Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria has dou­bled in the past three years.

Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria re­search di­rec­tor Traci Grif­fin said this was a re­flec­tion on Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria’s grow­ing rep­u­ta­tion in the global sci­ence com­mu­nity for lead­ing-edge, out­come-ori­ented re­search and in­no­va­tion for agri­cul­ture and food.

She said more than 30 in­ter­na­tional re­searchers had vis­ited Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria sites this year, the ma­jor­ity vis­it­ing Grains In­no­va­tion Park at Hor­sham.

Ms Grif­fin said much of this growth could be at­trib­uted to the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the Aus­tralian Grains Genebank as a na­tional ma­jor in­no­va­tion as­set of Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria in part­ner­ship with the Grains Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.

“Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria is grow­ing as a well-re­garded re­search and in­no­va­tion desti­na­tion through­out the world due to our wide range of state-of-the-art ca­pa­bil­i­ties and the qual­ity of its re­search and in­no­va­tion out­comes,” she said.

“We thank the Craw­ford Fund for its com­mit­ment and on­go­ing sup­port for agri­cul­ture sci­en­tists from around the world to visit our fa­cil­i­ties and meet our sci­en­tist, help­ing to con­trib­ute to global food se­cu­rity.”

FACT-FIND­ING: From left, Aus­tralian Grains Genebank leader Dr Sally Nor­ton with Myan­mar Min­istry of Food del­e­ga­tion mem­bers, Naing Kyi Win, Kyaw Soe Hein, Dr Min San Thien and Ohn Mar Aung.

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