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Wednesday , March 9 , 2011
 
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Soccer for cattle in Brazil barter

New Delhi, March 8: Football coaches for cattle embryos — that was the barter Indian and Brazilian foreign ministers struck today as proof of greater South-South co-operation.

Brazil asked India for more cattle embryos and semen that have improved the quality of its livestock greatly over the years.

India wanted Brazil to send soccer coaches to improve the quality of its football and possibly aim for a better chance of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup that, incidentally, Brazil will host.

Foreign minister S.M. Krishna and his Brazilian counterpart Antonio Patriota today signed a series of agreements for greater co-operation in agriculture/animal husbandry and sports.

The request of the Brazilian delegation for more cattle embryos and semen floored the Indian delegation attending the meeting.

The Brazilians then explained that embryos and semen of Indian-origin breeds like Gir, Kankrej and Ongole imported over the past few years have been a boon for the dairy industry in the Latin American nation. Brazilian scientists have taken these embryos/ semen to develop several commercially important crossbreeds like Girolando and Zeboain. Some of these breeds are said to give more milk than even Jersey and Holstein Friesian.

Indian scientists have for long considered many of the local breeds unproductive and have been crossbreeding them with Western cattle, sources said.

India has the largest population of cattle in the world with nearly 30 identified breeds, but the latest economic survey said the country may have to become an importer of milk some years from now because of inadequate growth in milk production.

Brazil has now emerged as a major exporter of semen and embryos of high-yielding milk cattle breeds which originated from India. African and Southeast Asian countries are major importers of these Brazilian breeds.

Only time will tell whether Brazilian football coaches can work wonders for Indian football like Indian cattle breeds have done for the Brazilian dairy industry.

The two ministers “welcomed the proposal of sending (Brazilian) football coaches to India for training of Indian players,” the joint statement released after their meeting said. They agreed to take further steps to increase sports co-operation, including Indians teaching Brazilians to play better cricket.

Patriota is in India for bilateral meetings and to attend the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) ministerial meetings.

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