As food prices rise around the globe, Africa faces increased challenges to feed its citizens. IDRC’s grant will support AGRA’S innovative research to improve agricultural productivity and access to markets.
Ottawa, Canada, January 12, 2011 – As food prices rise around the globe, Africa faces increased challenges to feed its citizens. Spiralling food prices and economic instability have hurt the poor, some of whom spend nearly 70% of their incomes on food. But relying on food aid or commercial food imports is not a sustainable option for Africa. As part of the solution, Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is providing a CA$3.3 million grant to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). AGRA, founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, works to make Africa food secure and prosperous by promoting rapid, sustainable agricultural growth on small farms.
IDRC’s grant will support AGRA’S innovative research to improve agricultural productivity and access to markets. Funding will seek to strengthen the agricultural policy-making environment in West Africa and ensure that countries make the leap from policy to action to ensure agricultural growth and food security.
“On a continent where initiatives tend to be led on a small scale, it is tremendously exciting to work closely with an organization of and for Africans that has made such a large impression on the African continent.” said IDRC President David Malone.
To advance Africa’s green revolution, AGRA focuses on issues ranging from soil fertility, to support for seed systems, to access to markets. But to be sustainable, strong social policies must accompany these initiatives so as to benefit smallholder farmers, most of whom are women.
IDRC funding will help build a critical mass of social scientists and policy analysts, and nurture a new generation of young researchers and scholars, both male and female, in agricultural and applied economics. The goal is to enable them to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to transform West Africa’s agro-food sector and rural economies. Greater cooperation between national policy actors across the region will be enhanced as will the commitment by AGRA, IDRC, and their research networks to collaborate to ensure the application of research results by policymakers, communities, and farmers.
The IDRC grant also provides the opportunity for emerging African researchers to join forces with their counterparts at Canadian universities that have strong agricultural and applied economics departments.
This funding is a five-year investment and reflects the long-standing association between IDRC and AGRA. IDRC is pleased to joins the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and other donors in support of AGRA.
Join the conversation through Twitter (#IDRC) and Facebook. For more information, visit publicwebsite.idrc.ca.
Listen to a lecture with Namanga Ngongi (see 'Associated links' below), the president of AGRA, as he evaluates the promising initial results of Africa’s green revolution, including increased access to supplies, finance, and markets, as well as greater production.
To achieve self-reliance, poor communities need answers to questions like: How can we grow more and healthier food? Protect our health? Create jobs? IDRC supports research in developing countries to answer these questions. IDRC also encourages sharing this knowledge with policymakers, other researchers, and communities around the world. The result is innovative, lasting local solutions that aim to bring choice and change to those who need it most.
For more information: Isabelle Bourgeault-Tassé / (+1 613) 696-2343 / firstname.lastname@example.org