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.