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Eastern Africa: New programme to fight food security and climate change

Eastern Africa: New programme to fight food security and climate change

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A new programme that provides grants to bioscientists working to improve food production and environmental management in eastern Africa was launched Wednesday at the Nairobi headquarters of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

The newly established Bioresources Innovation Network for Eastern Africa Development (Bio-Innovate) Programme—the first of its kind in Africa—provides competitive grants to African researchers who are working with the private sector and non-governmental organizations to find ways to improve food security, boost resilience to climate change and identify environmentally sustainable ways of producing food.

In its first three-year phase, the programme is supporting five research-based projects working to improve the productivity of sorghum, millet, cassava, sweet potato, potato and bean farmers; to help smallholder farmers adapt to climate change; to improve the processing of wastes in the production of sisal and coffee; and to better treat waste water generated in leather processing and slaughterhouse operations. In a second call for proposals, beginning mid-2011, Bio-Innovate will help build agricultural commodity “value chains” in the region and a supportive policy environment for bioresource innovations.

The five-year programme is funded by a US$12-million grant from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida). Bio-Innovate is managed by ILRI and co-located within the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BeCA) Hub at ILRI’s Nairobi campus. Bio-Innovate will be implemented in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. “By emphasizing innovations to help drive crop production in the six partner countries, Bio-Innovate is working at the heart of one of the region’s greatest challenges—that of providing enough food in the face of climate change, diversifying crops and addressing productivity constraints that are threatening the livelihoods of millions,” said Carlos Seré, ILRI’s director general. Read more… (News From Africa)   Other related articles: Humanitarian News First Science News Kenya London News Africa Science News Environmentareus blog Africa Focus