OTTAWA, June 20, 2012 /CNW/ - Scientists at the University of
Saskatchewan have teamed up with researchers in Ethiopia and Kenya in
two innovative projects to help deliver safer and more nutritious food
in Africa through better plant breeding and soil management and a
state-of-the-art vaccine for cattle.
"Farmers face an increasing challenge to feed everyone adequately,
safely and sustainably as our world population grows," said Karen Chad,
U of S vice-president research. "International research partnerships
such as these put new knowledge and innovation directly into the hands
of farmers who will use it to improve food security for their families
The projects were announced today by Canada's International Development
Research Centre (IDRC) and the Canadian International Development
Agency (CIDA). The U of S initiatives are among six new projects funded
under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF).
CIFSRF is a five-year, $62 million program that brings Canadian and
developing-country researchers together to produce lasting solutions to
hunger and food insecurity in the developing world.
"These projects have the potential for large impacts in several African
countries as well as Canada," says IDRC President, David Malone. "They
are very much in keeping with IDRC's mandate of funding practical
research for development."
"Canada is a world leader in the fight against hunger, and our
partnership with IDRC plays a strong part in our efforts. Food and
nutrition security remains a key priority of our government's
development assistance," says Bev Oda, the Minister of International
Cooperation. "Our contribution to CIFSRF demonstrates Canadian
leadership in assisting developing countries fight hunger through
innovative practices and supports private sector growth in
Carol Henry, an associate professor in the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, is
working with colleagues at the U of S and Hawassa University in Ethiopia on a $1.6 million project to
tackle malnutrition in the African nation. By developing and introducing pulses such as chickpeas and haricot
beans, the team aims to provide farmers with high-protein crops that
also deliver nutrients such as iron and zinc, while at the same time
enriching soils through the nitrogen-fixing capabilities of these
plants. The goal is to increase household production, availability and
consumption of these micronutrient-rich pulse crops to improve people's
nutrition and health.
Ethiopia has one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world,
affecting about 52 per cent of the country's rural population,
particularly women and children. In southern Ethiopia, the problem is
especially acute because diets and incomes depend greatly on cereals
and root crops that are high in calories but low in nutrients.
Three-quarters of pregnant women in southern Ethiopia are
zinc-deficient, which contributes to the widespread stunting of
Andrew Potter and Volker Gerdts are working with Hezron Okwako Wesonga and Reuben Soi at the Kenyan
Agricultural Research Institute on a $3.7 million project to develop an affordable, safe, easily-produced and
easily-stored vaccine to eradicate contagious bovine pleuropneumonia
(CBPP), a highly contagious lung disease in cattle. Potter and Gerdts are the
Director and Associate Director (Research), respectively, at the
Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine
While vaccines for CBPP are available, they are not practical in the
African environment. CBPP, also known as lung plague, kills up to half
of infected animals, and the survivors often become carriers of the
disease. CBPP has been wiped out everywhere except in Africa where it
threatens the livelihood of 24 million people in 26 countries. Its
economic impact has been estimated to be $2 billion per year.
Today's funding announcement brings to 19 the number of projects
supported under CIFSRF. This includes researchers from 11 Canadian
universities and 26 developing-country organizations. It also
represents the third and final round of funding announcements in the
first phase of CIFSRF, a key component of the Government of Canada's
Food Security Strategy, announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at
the 2009 G-8 Meeting in L'Aquila, Italy.
Join in the conversation through Twitter #CIFSRF and Facebook.
More information is available at www.idrc.ca/cifsrf.
About the University of Saskatchewan:
As one of Canada's leading research-intensive universities, the
University of Saskatchewan's robust research community includes the
Canadian Light Source national synchrotron, Vaccine and Infectious
Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac),
Social Sciences Research Laboratories, and Global Institute for Water
Security. Signature areas of research include the intersection of
human, animal and environmental health; synchrotron sciences;
engagement and scholarship with Aboriginal peoples; agriculture, food
and bioproducts; energy and mineral resources; and water security.
A key part of Canada's aid program, the International Development
Research Centre (IDRC) supports research in developing countries to promote growth and
development. 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 change
to those who need it most.
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is Canada's lead
agency for development assistance. CIDA's aim is to manage Canada's
support and resources effectively and accountably to achieve
meaningful, sustainable results. It also engages in policy development
in Canada and internationally, enabling Canada's effort to realize its
SOURCE International Development Research Centre
For further information:
University Research Communications
International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Project undertaken with the financial support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), www.idrc.ca, and the Government of Canada, provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), www.acdi-cida.gc.ca.