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India-Africa Agriculture Engagement

India-Africa Agriculture Engagement

Cotton is the most important commercial crops in around 82 countries of the globe where it is cultivated. In 1980's, the cotton production in the world was just 14 million tons (MT). It rose to around 19 MT in the next 4 years but then was stagnant till 2000. Use of genetically modified technology (Insect resistant and herbicide tolerant) coupled with adoption of hybrid technology and expansion in area in some countries including India saw a dynamic growth in production of cotton touching a level of 28 MT by 2014-15. Until 2000, the productivity was in the range of 500-600 kg lint per hectare but subsequently it jumped to 750-800 kg per hectare within next 5 years with the introduction of Bt technology in most of the countries. In fact if we go by the global production trends today only three countries namely India, China and USA contribute around 63 per cent to the global raw cotton production and thus are referred as 'Big Three Giants' of world cotton. India and USA also enjoy the position of largest and second largest exporter of raw cotton, respectively. India with its highest acreage under cotton (37% of the world area and 25% of the total production) and also under the Bt technology (adoption at 11.6 million ha) has emerged as a powerful player in the commerce of cotton trade and textile manufacturing.

The countries of the four sub regions of Africa, which are traditional cotton producers are now considering the rejuvenation of the cultivation of cotton for securing economic development. Thirty seven countries out of fifty four African nations spread across the continent produce cotton on 11 million hectares, nearly equivalent to area under cotton in India. However the average yield stands at 350 kg lint per hectare, which is much less than the world average. Except South Africa, Burkina Faso and Sudan, none of them have adopted the new biotech cottons. Some of them have been conducting the confined field trials including Cameroon, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria and Malawi. But many of them have not even commenced the process of creating biosafety laws for adopting the new gene(s) technologies. Therefore, it is logical that these countries are looking to India for gaining the experience of biotech cotton and aspiring to introduce biotech traits in their respective countries.

Agriculture, particularly cotton and textile sectors present a vast opportunity of collaboration in technology, trade and training (3T) between India and Africa. India can provide technologies and expertise in cotton and textile value chain from seeds to fibre to edible oil to most of African countries. In turn, Africa can increase their capacity to grow more, produce more, consume more and trade more with India. Cotton and textile sectors can resurrect the 21st century partnership between two giant continents. In the recent past, the trade between India and Africa has increased manifolds. In 2014-15, it was estimated that India's total trade with Africa and Africa's total trade with India has climbed to US$72 billion and US$39 billion respectively. Interestingly, this was a five-fold increase in the trade, on both ways, in the preceding decade.

Notably, in the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit held from 26-29 October 2015, the Government of India has announced India's offer for concessional credit of US$10 billion over the next 5 years to African Countries to strengthen India-Africa partnership. Besides, India committed US$7.4 billion concessional credit program since the 1st India Africa Forum Summit in 2008. It is therefore paramount that India and African countries explore and exploit this opportunity to strengthen agricultural technology, trade and training to ensure food security and sustainable development spurred by inclusive growth in agriculture.

In order to facilitate exchange of ideas, technologies and trade in agriculture sector, a series of study tours, demonstration plot visits, training to the students and staffs have been organized under the Indo-African program since 2010. A study tour of regulatory officials from seven countries was organized in Oct 2013. In this series, the South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC), New Delhi has successfully organized a study visit of 30 stakeholders from six East- South African countries to Indian biotech cotton hybrid fields in what is known as the “Seeing is Believing' program in September- October 2015, in collaboration with the ISAAA AfriCenter, United States Department of Agriculture and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). The participants comprised of policy makers, senior government officials, CEO's of cotton boards, journalists, consumer representatives, private players in cotton trade who witnessed the first-hand experience of biotech cotton hybrid growing in the fields. They got the opportunity to interact with government officials, small holder farmers, researchers, public sector institutes including CCS HAU, Hisar, CICR-RRS, Sirsa and private sector seed company Mahyco - the first Indian seed company to introduce Bt cotton in India.

In January 2016, the South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC) assisted another African delegation comprising of legal counsellors of biosafety committees of nine African countries led by ABNE, Michigan State University, Michigan and Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation from 19 January to 28 January 2016. SABC interacted with the delegation at TERI, Delhi and also helped them with half a day roundtable meeting at Hyderabad wherein they were briefed about regulatory sciences, development of biotech crops by public sector institutions and role of private sector in India.

The South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC) aims at expanding and deepening collaboration under India-Africa Partnership with partners institutions from African continent in order to strengthen African capacity and build the confidence amongst the African nations to adopt new technologies in agriculture. 3T’s is an ideal model for India-Africa to increase agricultural production and trade for the welfare of farmers and for their own socio-economic development.

A delegation of six Eastern-Southern African cotton growing countries participated in a week long study tour to Bt cotton hybrid fields in India from 28th September to 2nd October 2015. The study tour was conducted by the South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC), New Delhi in collaboration with ISAAA AfriCenter, the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern & Southern Africa (ACTESA/COMESA), the Program on Biosafety System (PBS), Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) and USDA. Thirty official representatives including decision and policy makers, regulators, senior Government officials, Chair of cotton boards, consumer and media representatives participated in the study tour. The six cotton growing countries in Eastern and Southern Africa include, Kenya (11), Sudan (5), Malawi (7), Ethiopia (1), Swaziland (4) and Zambia (1). The delegates were accompanied by cotton and biotech experts from India representing both public and private sector organizations.

The study tour was designed to showcase the present and future of cotton farming system in India. India being a role model in technology application in cotton, the visit intended to showcase, share and learn from the Indian experiences and insights on technology application, regulation, hybridization, commercialization, high density planting, mechanical picking, biosafety and best agronomic practices of growing Bt cotton in India. This enabled the participants to witness the performance of Bt cotton hybrids in farmers' fields in both irrigated and dryland conditions and also allowed them to interact with officials of both public and private sector institutions to learn about the benefits and risk of approving and adopting Bt cotton in India.

In the first leg of a week-long “Seeing is believing” study tour, participants visited the irrigated cotton growing belt in Haryana and Punjab States of India on 28-29 September 2015. They had an opportunity to interact with the officials of both CCS HAU, Hisar and ICAR CICR RRS, Sirsa about the safety, efficacy and farm level performance of Bt cotton hybrids in the irrigated belt of Haryana and Punjab. The visit to CCS HAU, Hisar and ICAR CICR RRS, Sirsa allowed the participants to learn about the Indian cotton cultivation experiences and research undertaken by public sector institutions at the Central government and State governments respectively. Subsequently, the study tour explored the dry land areas of Maharashtra to witness the cotton revolution, introduction of hybridization of cotton and adoption of Bt cotton hybrids and to learn from the best practices of cotton crop in the central part of India from 30 September to 2 October 2015.

India celebrated “Gandhi Jayanti” – birth day of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi on 2nd October 2015 which fortunately coincided with the African study tour to Bt cotton fields in India. On this occasion, it was noteworthy to share the importance of cotton and Charkha with the African delegates. The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi spun the Charkha (cotton spinning wheel) in the beginning of the 20th century that marked the awakening of India. A nation rose and the spinning of cotton thread became the symbol of patriotic feeling during the independence struggle. Cotton has been such an integral part of India. The African delegates were pleased with the reminiscences of Mahatma Gandhi and his affection for cotton and cottage industry. India is now self-reliant and the world largest producer and exporter of cotton fulfilling the goals of self-reliance set by India's Father of the Nation.

In summary, following activities capture the essence of the African Study tour on the present and future of cotton farming in India from 28th September to 2nd October 2015;

  • Visit to CCS HAU, Hisar – a premier State Agricultural University and interaction with the Vice Chancellor and his team, and a visit to Bt cotton demonstration cum hybridization field

  • Visit to high density Bt cotton demonstration plot on farmers' field, and interaction with Bt cotton farmers at Hisar district of Haryana

  • Visit to CICR Regional Research Station, demonstration field, presentation and interaction with key scientists at Sirsa district of Haryana

  • Visit to Centre of Excellence (COE) at farmers' field and interaction with Bt cotton farmers at Sirsa district of Haryana

  • Visit to Bt cotton farmer field to witness the performance of Bt cotton at Bhatinda district of Punjab

  • Visit to Centre of Excellence (COE) at Government field to see new methods and techniques to improve cotton yield at Bhatinda district of Punjab

  • Visit to ELS Bt cotton hybrid (HxB) and Bt cotton hybrid (HxH) field and interaction with young farmers in Jalna district of Maharashtra

  • Visit to Mahyco R&D centre, meeting with Mahyco Chairman, MD and CTO, and scientists & researchers, and tour to R&D facility at Dawalwadi, Jalna, Maharashtra

  • Visit to Abhay Cotext to understand the processing and utilization of Bt cotton by-products at Jalna, Maharashtra

  • Field visit to understand hybridization of cotton using both conventional and GMS based technique at Jalna, Maharashtra

The feedback from the delegates indicates that the study tour to the present and future of cotton farming in India allowed them to build the necessary confidence about Bt cotton, cotton hybrid, biosafety and regulatory processes, risk communications and commercialization of genetically improved crops including insect resistant Bt cotton in their respective countries. Knowledge and hands-on experiences gained during the study tour contributed significantly to informed decision making. It is expected that the knowledge gained during the study tour would add to an enabling environment for collaboration between Indian public and private sector institutions and their counterparts in African countries to achieve India-Africa cooperation in agriculture.

The South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC) captures the experiences and lessons learned from a week-long seeing-is-believing study tour for African Stakeholders in the form a comprehensive report on the present and future of cotton farming in India.

Download full report on “African Stakeholders Study Tour to India: The Present and Future of Cotton Farming in India” and African Stakeholders Study Tour Strengthens India-African Collaboration in Cotton and Textile Sector at: http://www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/article/default.asp?ID=14301

NEPAD Agency African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), together with Michigan State University (MSU), the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Bejo Sheetal Biosciences Foundation (BSBF), and South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC) in India, has successfully conducted a study tour of New Delhi, Aurangabad/Jalna, and Hyderabad in India on January 17-27, 2016. The study tour was attended by 14 delegates from the following countries in Africa: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia.

The main objective of the study tour was to share information on biotechnology and biosafety developments in India, especially the regulatory experiences of Bt cotton and other food crops that are in the research and development pipeline. The study tour also aimed at providing opportunities for regulators and policy makers from Africa to interact with their fellow biosafety regulators, policy makers, and industry representatives from India.

In a roundtable meeting of the India–Africa collaboration, Professor Karim Maredia of MSU, Dr. Silas Okobusia and Dr. Moussa Savadogo of NEPAD Agency ABNE presented an overview of the agricultural biosafety regulatory regimes in African countries and highlighted areas for partnership with India. For the Indian part, key presentations at various meetings were delivered by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change, TIFAC, TERI, SABC, the Indian Council for Food and Agriculture (ICFA), the Institute of Biotechnology (IoB), Directorate of Rice Research (ICAR DRR) and private sector companies including Rasi HyVeg Seeds at New Delhi, BeejSheetal and Mahyco at Jalna, Maharashtra, Advanta Seeds and JK AgriGenetics at Hyderabad.

More information about the study tour at: http://nepad-abne.net/nepad-agency-abne-implement-study-tour-india

As a part of SABC's India-Africa Agriculture Engagement, the South Asia Biotechnology Center (SABC), New Delhi in collaboration with ISAAA AfriCenter, the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern & Southern Africa of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA/COMESA) and United States Department of Agriculture facilitated a one week experience-sharing and learing tour of the high-level African delegation from 13 to 18 November 2016.

The high-level delegation consisting of the ministers, chairperson of the parlimentary standing committee on natural resources and environment, chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee on agriculture affairs, members of parliaments (MPs), heads of agriculture and biotechnology institutions, chaipersons of the biosafety regulatry committees and media from five COMESA States including Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia participated in the Africa biotechnology study tour.

The purpose of this study tour was to share and learn from the Indian biotech cotton farming experiences as well as the country’s model biotech crops regulation and commercialization processes. It will include onsite visits to public and private biotech R&D facilities, insect resistant Bt crop farms, seed processing facilities and relevant cotton sub-sector players in Mumbai, Jalna, Aurangabad of Maharashtra States and Hyderabad of Telangana State in Central and Southern India. The delegates had an opprotuntiy to interact with farmers, policy makers, regulators, seed producers, researchers, processors and other sub-sector players for experimental learning. Country delegates from five COMESA States that grow cotton have successfully completed a one week experience-sharing and learning tour of biotechnology cotton farming, regulation and commercialization in India from 13 to 18 November 2016.

The African biotechnology study tour included onsite visits to public and private biotech research & development facilities, insect resistant genetically modified cotton farms, seed processing facilities and relevant cotton sub-sector players in Mumbai, Jalna, Aurangabad of Maharashtra States and Hyderabad of Telangana State in Central and Southern India.

The African biotechnology study tour is one of the strategic objectives of COMESA Biotechnology and Biosafety Implementation Plan (COMBIP) to support experience-sharing through peer-learning platforms within COMESA member States and beyond. The study tour was intended to equip key stakeholders from member States with knowledge and experience to better understand biotechnology for informed decision-making.

The African biotechnology study tour is expected to help build the necessary confidence among the African stakeholders on regulatory and commercialization processes, biosafety communciations and trade issues of biotech crops. Knowledge and hands-on experiences gained will ultimately contribute to informed decisions and an enabling environment for development and commerce with biotech crops in Africa and beyond.

Summary Program of COMESA African Biotech Study Tour:

In summary, following activities capture the essence of the African Biotechnology Study tour of members of African COMESA countries that have either approved Bt cotton such as Sudan or are at the penultimate stage of commercial approval of Bt cotton such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia;

  • Visit to R&D facility of ICAR-CIRCOT to learn about the importance of cotton value chain and cotton byproducts including cotton prototype ginning model, delinting processes, fibre characteristics, yarn making, CIRCOT developed fibrics and nano-cellulose pilot plant at ICAR-CIRCOT, Matunga, Mumbai on 14 November 2016
  • Interactive session with the high-level delegation of the African Biotechnology Study Tour to India at CIRCOT, Matunga, Mumbai on 14 November 2016
  • Interaction with small holder dry land farmers growing extra-long staple Bt cotton and visit to their field to showcase the performance of the extra-long staple Bt cotton in field condition to the high level African delegation at villages in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra State on 15th November 2016
  • Visit to commercial Bt cotton hybrid (HxH) field and ELS Bt cotton hybrid (HxB) field and interaction with young farmers in Jalna district of Maharashtra on 15th November 2016
  • Visit of high-level delegation of the African Biotechnology Study Tour to Mahyco LifeScience Research Center, Dawalwadi, Jalna and interaction with scientists working on research and development of different biotech traits and GM crops including insect resistant, herbicide tolerant and virus resistant cotton, insect resistant chickpea and pigeonpea, insect resistant rice, Bt okra and Bt brinjal and other agriculturally important crops on 15th November 2016.
  • Field visit to understand hybrid seed production of Bt cotton and hybridization of cotton using both conventional and GMS based technique at farmers’ field in Jalna, Maharashtra on 15th November 2016
  • Visit to Abhay Nutrition Pvt Ltd to understand the processing and utilization of Bt cotton by-products at Jalna, Maharashtra on 15th November 2016
  • Interaction of the high level African delegation with Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Jalna led by Dr Shrikrishna Sonune head of Jalna KVK and ICAR awardee farmer Uddhav Asaram Khedekar at Aurangabad on 15th November 2016
  • ICRISAT’s Platform for Translational Research on Transgenic Crops (PTTC) hosting an interactive session with the high level African delegation to comprehend the mechanism of the regulatory approval of GM crops and the model of public private partnership (PPP) to undertake translational research on GM crops at PTTC, ICRISAT, Patancheru, Telangana on 17th November 2016
  • Exposure tour to the high level African delegation to the research and development laboratory of the PTTC at ICRISAT on 17th November, 2016
  • Visit of the high level African delegation to the research and development facility of BioSeeds Research Private Limited at ICRISAT on 17th November 2016
  • Visit of high-level African delegation to the Multi Crop Breeding Station (MCBS) of Bayer CropScience Pvt Ltd at village Chandippa, RR District, Telagana on 17th November 2016
  • Visit of high-level African delegation to the demonstration plot of Bt cotton of Bayer CropScience Pvt Ltd at village Chandippa, Telangana on 17th November 2016.
  • Visit of the high-level African delegation to showcases the cotton germ plasm variability at JK AgriGenetics R&D centre at village Ravalkole, Telangana on 18th November 2016
COMESA African Biotech Study tour visits ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai COMESA Africa Biotech Study tour inspects the fibre quality of Bt cotton at ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai COMESA Africa Biotech Study tour learns about the quality paramenters such as satple length and cotton ginning count etc at R&D facility of ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai COMESA African countries delegations learns about the cotton based nano-cellulose technology and visits the nano-cellulose pilot plant at ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai COMESA African countires delegates engage with Indian scientists, regulators and media during the interactive session at ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai Mr Raju Barwale, Managing Director of Mahyco shares his experiences and insights on “Private Sector engagement and experiences with insect resistant Bt cotton technology in India” with COMESA African countries delegates at interactive session at ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai Dr Rajan, Principal Scientist (Crop Protection) Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) share his thoughts on “Opportunities & challenges in deployment of insect resistant Bt cotton in India” with the high-level COMESA African delegation at ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai Mr Vivian Fernandes, Editor, www.smartindianagricuture.in voices his experiences on “Demystifying GM crops in India: A Media Perspective” during the interactive session with the high-level COMESA African delegation at ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai Delegates from five COMESA States listen attentatively to speakers on during the interactive session with the high-level COMESA African delegation at ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai Renowned cotton breeder and cotton textile experts including Mr Suresh Kotak, Dr AK Basu and Dr AJ Shaikh participate in the interactive session with the high-level COMESA African delegation at ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai Mr Suresh Kotak, Chairman of Kotak & Co. and Kotak Ginning & Pressing Industries Ltd responds to the concerns raised by African delegates during the interactive session with the high-level COMESA African delegation at ICAR-CIRCOT, Mumbai Indian cotton farmer Shivaji Bhagal of Aurangabad district showcases the extra-long staple Bt cotton to Ethiopian State Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Mr. Yimama Zekarias Serkola; Hon. Massa Almaz Messele, the chairperson, parliamentary standing committee of agriculture affairs; and Hon. Haile Jembernesh Kinfe, vice-chairperson, Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environment and Bhagirath Choudhary, Founder Director of the South Asia Biotechnology Centre, New Delhi COMESA African countries delegates visit commercial Bt cotton field at farmer Shivaji Bhagal of Aurangabad district of Maharashtra COMESA African countries delegates visit the high density Bt cotton farmers field at Aurangabad district of Maharashtra African delegates from five COMESA countries visit Mahyco LifeScience Research Center, Dawalwadi, Jalna, Maharashtra COMESA African countries delegates interact with scientists of Mahyco LifeScience Research Center, Dawalwadi, Jalna, Maharashtra COMESA African countries delegates interact with scientists of Mahyco LifeScience Research Center, Dawalwadi, Jalna, Maharashtra Dr Usha Zahr Barwale, Chief Technology Officer of Mahyco presents the 50 years of journey of Mahyco with the delegates of five COMESA African countries during the interactive session at Mahyco LifeSciecnes Research Center, Dawalwadi, Jalna, Maharashtra Caption: Mr Ritesh Mishra, Lead, Regulatory Affairs of Mahyco shares his expericnes on regulatory system of GM crops in India with the delegates of five COMESA African countries during the interactive session at Mahyco LifeSciecnes Research Center, Dawalwadi, Jalna, Maharashtra Delegates from five COMESA African countries from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Swaziland and Zamiba visit Bt cotton hybrid seeds production plots at farmers’ field at Jalna district of Maharashra Members of Parliaments from Swaziland interacting with farmers engaged in Bt cotton hybrid seeds production at Jalna district of Maharashtra Delagtes from Zambia and Malawi interacting with farmers engaged in Bt cotton hybrid seed production at Jalna district of Maharashtra COMESA African countries delegates interact with Abhay Nutrition Pvt Ltd to understand the processing and utilization of Bt cotton by-products at Jalna, Maharashtra COMESA African countries delegates visit the Ellara caves at Aurangabad, Maharashtra COMESA African countries delegates interact with Dr Kiran Sharma and Dr Pooja Bhatnagar Mathur of the Platform for Translational Research on Transgenic Crops (PTTC) during the interactive session on mechanism of the regulatory approval of GM crops and the model of public private partnership (PPP) at PTTC, ICRISAT, Patancheru, Telangana COMESA African countries delegates interact representatives of BioSeeds Reseach Pvt Ltd and Bayer CropSciences Pvt Ltd during the interactive session on mechanism of the regulatory approval of GM crops and the model of public private partnership (PPP) at PTTC, ICRISAT, Patancheru, Telangana Dr David Bergvinson, Director General of ICRISAT interacts via skype with delegates of five COMESA African countries during the interactive session on mechanism of the regulatory approval of GM crops and the model of public private partnership (PPP) at PTTC, ICRISAT, Patancheru, Telangana Chairperson of the Ethiopian parliamentary standing committee on agriculture affairs hands over a token of appreciation to Dr Kiran Sharma, CEO of PTTC of ICRISAT, Patancheru, Telangana Chairperson of the Ethiopian parliamentary standing committee on agriculture affairs hands over a token of appreciation to Dr Dwarkesh Parihar, head of R&D of BioSeeds Research Pvt Ltd at PTTC of ICRISAT, Patancheru, Telangana Chairperson of the Ethiopian parliamentary standing committee on agriculture affairs hands over a token of appreciation to Dr Surendra Prajapati of Bayer CropScience Pvt Ltd at PTTC of ICRISAT, Patancheru, Telangana Dr Margaret Karembu, Director of ISAAA AfriCenter shares a token of appreciation with Dr Kiran Sharma, CEO of PTTC, ICRISAT in the presence of Dr Getachew Belay of COMESA Secretariat Bhagirath Choudhary, Founder Director of South Asia Biotehnology Centre, New Delhi. COMESA African countries delegates visit the Multi Crops Breeding Station (MCBS) of Bayer CropSciecne Pvt Ltd at Village Chandippa, Telangana. COMESA African countries delegates visit the newly established glass and green house facility at the Multi Crops Breeding Station (MCBS) of Bayer CropSciecne Pvt Ltd at Village Chandippa, Telangana. COMESA African countries delegates visit the Bt cotton performance cum demonstration trials of Bayer CropSciecne Pvt Ltd at Village Chandippa, Telangana. COMESA African countries delegates visit the R&D facility of JK AgriGenetics Pvt Ltd at village Ravalkole, Telangana. Dr. Venkatesh Kulkarni, Vice President of R&D of JK AgriGenetics Pvt Ltd tours COMESA African delegation to demonstrate the cotton germ plasm variability at JK AgriGenetics R&D centre at village Ravalkole, Telangana Mr Sanjay Gupta, President of JK AgriGenetics Pvt Ltd interacts with the delegates of COMESA African countries at the R&D field at JK AgriGenetics R&D centre at village Ravalkole, Telangana
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More information about COMESA African Biotechnology Study Tour to India, contact: bhagirath@sabc.asia

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