Australia and Viet Nam sign agreement to exchange sugar cane varieties

11:24 | 29/09/2015 Cooperation

Researchers in Australia and Vietnam will begin exchanging sugar cane varieties after an agreement was signed by agencies in each country.

Australia and Viet Nam sign agreement to exchange sugar cane varieties

The deal also includes cooperation on research into sugarcane diseases and pests.

Sugar Research Australia executive manager of development, Peter Allsopp, said the biggest benefit from the agreement would be the chance to build a greater range of cane varieties available to Australian growers.

"A lot of our focus at the moment is trying to increase persity of the material that we can use as parents within our breeding program," he said."That's what this agreement with the Vietnamese is all about, it's about increasing the persity that we can use as parents.

"We can make crosses and then we can select the best of those seedlings that we get in our trials and hopefully develop better varieties of cane for the Australian industry."

Mr Allsopp said foreign cane varieties rarely succeeded in Australian conditions as they arrive, but about half the varieties released to growers in Australia have one 'parent' from a foreign exchange and most have at least one foreign 'grandparent'.

The 10-year memorandum of understanding between SRA and SRI Viet Nam, is designed to bring the same benefits to Viet Nam, which has a much smaller sugar industry.

Initially, researchers in each country have provided the other with a list of ten cane varieties to be exchanged.

The agencies will also work cooperatively on research into sugarcane diseases and pests "of mutual interest," and other ventures such as trait development, molecular biology, and crop management.

SRA already has variety exchange agreements with 15 countries.

SRI Vietnam director general, Dr Nguyen Duc Quang, said the agreement would benefit both countries and Vietnam's cane industry had some diseases and pests which were of biosecurity concern to Australia, even if they had not yet appeared in Australia.

"Working together, we can help lessen their impact on the Vietnamese industry, as well as ensuring that the Australian industry is well prepared for any incursion."/.