MONTREAL, June 20, 2012 /CNW/ - McGill University scientists, led by
Ajjamada Kushalappa of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental
Sciences, have teamed up with researchers from the Universidad Nacional
de Colombia to develop nutritious, high-yielding, and more
disease-resistant potatoes for food-insecure indigenous communities in
The CA$2.8 million project, announced today by Canada's International Development Research Centre
(IDRC) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), in
cooperation with McGill University, is one of six new projects funded
under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF).
CIFSRF, a five-year, CA$62 million initiative, brings Canadian and
developing-country researchers together to produce lasting solutions to
hunger and food insecurity in the developing world.
"We welcome the opportunity to work with leading scientists and
institutes in Colombia to raise the incomes of poor farmers and make
food more nutritious and secure," says McGill's Kushalappa. "Our
university, one of the world leaders in understanding biochemical
processes that occur in stressed plants, will combine efforts with
experts in molecular biology at the Universidad Nacional to breed
better potato cultivars that resist late blight disease and are high in
In Colombia, where sufficient, safe, and nutritious food is a national
concern, the staple food crop - potato - is threatened by blight. In
the hard-hit indigenous communities of Nariño, it is also the main
income source for small-scale farms, which are mainly headed by women.
Building on research by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, the
scientists will develop a number of highly nutritious potato clones
that are resistant to late blight disease. They will also help Nariño's
indigenous communities adopt more environmentally sound agricultural
and post-harvest practices. Indigenous women will also learn better
agricultural, nutritional, and dietary practices.
"The knowledge that will be generated through this project will be
adapted to other Andean countries," says IDRC President, David Malone.
"This is very much in keeping with IDRC's commitment to research that
supports development through the practical application of science."
"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, 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
Today's funding announcement brings to 19 the number of projects
supported under CIFSRF which 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 the Prime Minister 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 McGill University
Founded in Montreal, Que., in 1821, McGill is Canada's leading
post-secondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 11
professional schools, 300 programs of study and more than 37,000
students, including 8,300 graduate students. McGill attracts students
from over 150 countries around the world, with more than 7,200
international students making up 20 per cent of the student body.
Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than
English, including more than 6,200 francophones.
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 choice and 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
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.
SOURCE MCGILL UNIVERSITY
For further information:
McGill University contact: Katherine Gombay / 514-398-2189 / firstname.lastname@example.org / @mcgillu
For CIFSRF information: Isabelle Bourgeault-Tassé / 1. 613.696.2343 / email@example.com / @IDRC_CRDI