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Mars Adds Leading Rice Expert to R&D Team

David Mackill, one of the world’s leading experts in the area of rice plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology has joined Mars Food to take up the scientific role of Strategic Rice Expert within its Research and Development organization. His principal focus will be to establish a global network of rice researchers, research institutions and government agencies which can be mobilized to generate ground-breaking new research to support improved rice production and breeding programs.

As the company’s Strategic Rice Expert, Dr. Mackill will leverage the knowledge of the global rice science community to ensure Mars Food’s rice business, including the global rice brand Uncle Ben's, is a world leader in the areas of sustainable sourcing and nutrition. Dr. Mackill joins the company from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), where he was Principal Scientist - Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology.

IRRI aims to reduce poverty and hunger by improving the health of rice farmers and consumers while ensuring environmental sustainability. At IRRI, Dr. Mackill led the development of more than 20 rice cultivars adapted to the challenging growing conditions in southern Asia.

“Having access to the world’s best rice science research and expertise will be instrumental to Mars achieving its ambitions to provide consumers with rice which is produced to the highest standards of sustainability and which offers optimal health and nutrition benefits, “ says Marc Turcan, vice president of R&D and Supply for the Global Mars Food business. “David will be the bridge between the company and the scientific community, initiating new research to advance global understanding as well as channeling the world’s leading scientific expertise into Mars, to help us continually improve our sustainability and nutritional performance.”

In addition to leveraging external science and research resources, Dr. Mackill will 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.

Dr. Mackill will also play a key role in the Mars Food Sustainability, Health and Nutrition Research Advisory Board, a panel of independent experts which provides objective scientific advice to Mars Food.

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