Mars to build “global network of rice researchers”

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 17th February 2011

rice_bowl_lg.jpgMars Food plans to build a global network of external science and research resources to develop and support improved rice production and breeding programmes.

The company announced today (14 February) that it has appointed David Mackill as strategic rice expert within its research and development arm.

Mackill joins the company from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), where he was principal scientist – Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology. Mars said that at IRRI Mackill led the development of more than 20 rice cultivars adapted to the challenging growing conditions in southern Asia.

His principal focus will be to establish a global network of rice researchers, research institutions and government agencies which can be mobilised to generate ground-breaking new research to support improved rice production and breeding programs.

“David will be the bridge between the company and the scientific community, initiating new research to advance global understanding as well as channelling the world’s leading scientific expertise into Mars, to help us continually improve our sustainability and nutritional performance,” said Marc Turcan, Mars Food’s vice president of R&D and supply.

Mackill will also lead Mars Food’s plant science and breeding strategies to create and sustain supply streams which meet the business’ specifications for sustainable sourcing and nutrition. Initially his work will focus on rice, but will later be extended to other key plant crops such as tomatoes.

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