Global seeds company Monsanto has announced grants worth $10 million (Rs 46 crore) to enable Indian scientists to search for productivity breakthroughs in wheat and rice under the Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Programme, the biggest such private funding of farm research in the country.
Six young Indian agriculture scientists were offered the Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars' Program (MBBISP) Research Fellowships 2011, an initiative to fund Indian agricultural university students to develop new plant breeding research for rice and wheat production.
Despite being frequently opposed by anti-GM groups, the company said it was committed to facilitate "cutting-edge research" in India to address the basic issues of hunger, food security and food inflation.
The scholarship programme will be administered by Texas AgriLife Research, an agency of Texas A&M University, US.
The programme is aimed at funding promising scientists to carry out high-end farm research.
Under the scholarships, the selected Indian scientists will work in an array of foreign research institutions, such as Bangor University, UK, University of Leicester, University of Arizona, US, and the International Rice Research Institute, Philippines.
According to the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), India would have to double its food production by 2025.