The blackcurrant industry has welcomed a proposed research collaboration between New Zealand and Japanese scientists.

The Plant and Food Research Institute has made a joint application with Japanese researchers to both countries’ government science funding agencies. They want to exchange information on different projects they’re working on, investigating the health and nutriceutical benefits of the fruit.

Ian Turk of the industry body Blackcurrants New Zealand says at the moment Japan is taking about 15 per cent of this country’s exports of the fruit. Turk says considerable investment has been made in Japan in developing products based on blackcurrant extracts, and New Zealand has become the preferred source of the fruit.

He says an announcement about the joint research funding application is expected before the end of the year.

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