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Brazil and Scotland team up to tackle food security challenge

By Arabella Mileham , 20-Jan-2012

Agricultural scientists in Scotland and Brazil have signed a formal agreement for research teams from the two countries to work together on joint projects.

By signing the Memorandum of Understanding, the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) and EMBRAPA, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation will further links between the two organisation and bring significant benefits to the two countries.

Professor Geoff Simm, SAC academic director and vice-president of research, said that the undertaking was a natural progression of the informal links which have developed between academics from the two countries and would allow for a more coordinated identification of areas in which to focus research.

He said: “The SAC and EMBRAPA partnership will stimulate joint working on addressing some of the huge global challenge that agricultural research, education and consulting must address.”

The two organisations have already cooperated on a multi-national animal welfare project, which has been led by Professor Adroaldo Zenalla, who joined SAC last year.

The first step in this is a seminar in Pelotas, Brazil in April which a delegation of Scottish scientists will attend.

Simm said: “The purpose of the April workshop is for SAC and EMBRAPA scientists to map out areas of mutual interest in greater detail. It’s a more systematic approach to see where the interest of SAC and its associations and EMBRAPA overlap.

“A lot of emphasis is on animal science - with the issue of low carbon farming, genetics and animal welfare.”

The initiative is self-funded, but intends to work on issues which have global significance. These include issues of food security, efficient production and improving efficiencies within environmental constraints, ensuring that technology and innovation have less of an environmental impact.

As well as working with the Brazilian team, SAC aim to further links with scientists in China and sub-Saharan Africa.

Simm said: “Future relations with countries such as Brazil will help meet the challenges of feeding a growing global population, a goal that is best achieved by collaboration.”

EMBRAPA has a network of 38 research centres and employs more than 8,000 people.

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