A delegation of government, industry, science and university officials from Saskatchewan has strengthened economic and educational ties with India.
The delegation included representatives from the University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, SIAST, Canadian Light Source, Genome Prairie, Saskatchewan Research Council and Saskatchewan Pulse Growers.
The 10-day mission was led by Rob Norris, the Advanced Education, Employment and Labour minister for Saskatchewan.
The mission included meetings in Bangalore, Chennai and New Delhi.
Norris began the mission by speaking at the Bio Conference in Bangalore, India’s largest biotechnology conference, where he highlighted what Saskatchewan has to offer India.
“India is a vital partner for Saskatchewan on many fronts,” says Norris upon his return to Canada.
“The Saskatchewan story was enthusiastically received in many areas including trade, advanced education and research partnerships, immigration and international cooperation.”
Signing an MoU
In the area of advanced education, the University of Saskatchewan signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology to collaborate on research, training, curriculum, institutional development, information dissemination, and faculty, student and staff exchanges.
The agreement aims to boost the flow of information between the two organizations, and strengthen teaching and research, and provide skills training to help the growth of food processing in India.
In an article on RTTNews.com, Subodh Kant Sahai, India’s Food Processing minister, said: “We produce a lot of things in this country, but the processing level is very low and therefore we end up wasting billions of rupees in output. I am hopeful that this cooperation will help reduce waste and enhance processing.”
The arrangement, adds Dr. Venkatesh Meda, professor of Agriculture and Bioresource Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, is also an opportunity to promote the province’s raw food products for use in India’s food processing industry.
Another aim of the mission was to increase pulse export opportunities to India.
Murray Purcell, chair of the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Association, says, “We are investing in research to find new uses for Saskatchewan pulses in existing traditional Indian foods.
“By strengthening our relationship with researchers in India, we are positioning our already growing industry for continued growth.”
In an increasingly competitive global environment, India is an important partner for Saskatchewan and is the province’s fifth largest source country for newcomers to the province.
In turn, Saskatchewan is India’s largest trading partner in Canada.
Potential areas for further work with India may include nutritional security, water security, clean coal technology, and synchrotron science.