IDRC and CIDA support Canadian and developing-country scientists' efforts to solve world hunger

CA$16.5 million for six new international research projects announced

OTTAWA, June 20, 2012 /CNW/ - Canadian and developing-world scientists are working on the front lines of hunger to make food more sufficient, safe, and nutritious around the globe.  Six groundbreaking research projects worth a total of $16.5 million were announced today by Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF).

CIFSRF, a five-year, $62 million fund, brings Canadian and developing-country researchers together to produce lasting solutions to combat hunger and food insecurity in the developing world. This fund is also an important part of the Government of Canada's commitment to doubling its investment in sustainable agricultural development, a commitment made by Canada at the 2009 G8 Meeting in L'Aquila, Italy.

"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 agriculture."

The six research projects team up the brightest scientific minds from Canada and developing countries to deliver practical solutions that help the poor and expand Canada's scientific base. In some instances, they are also of direct benefit to Canadians.

These projects range from the development of state-of-the-art vaccines in Africa and the use of nanotechnology to reduce fruit loss in South Asia, to increasing productivity and nutrition in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa though aquaculture, home gardens, improved crops, and better soil management.

"Around the globe, farmers face many food production challenges," says IDRC President, David Malone. "This research looks for practical solutions that support development and can be effectively scaled up and used elsewhere in the world. That's very much in keeping with what IDRC is all about."

Among the project highlights:

  • Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute are developing a vaccine for bovine pleuropneumonia in Africa, a highly contagious bacterial disease in cattle that can significantly reduce the incomes of small-scale farmers.
  • Researchers at the University of Alberta and the Agricultural Research Council in South Africa are developing inexpensive, safe, and easy-to-use vaccines using a novel delivery technology to combat a host of livestock diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. This will contribute to food availability, nutritional security, and higher incomes for rural families. The delivery technology being developed could also be useful to Canadian farmers.
  • Researchers at the University of Guelph, India's Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, and the Industrial Technology Institute in Sri Lanka are using nanotechnology to develop a packaging system that reduces post-harvest losses of mangoes. The system will contribute to higher incomes for farmers and increased consumption of this highly nutritious fruit.  Canadian soft fruit farmers should also benefit.
  • Researchers at McGill University and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia are working with indigenous communities in Colombia to produce, select, and introduce nutritional, high-yielding, and disease-resistant potato varieties for the most food-insecure communities. Potato is their staple food crop and a main source of income.
  • Researchers at the University of British Columbia and Helen Keller International in Cambodia are studying ways to integrate home gardens and aquaculture systems to increase and diversify food production. This will provide poor households with affordable, nutritional food and new income-earning opportunities.
  • Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan and Ethiopia's Hawassa University are testing ways to combat micronutrient deficiencies and malnutrition in three different regions of Southern Ethiopia. Using plant-breeding and improved soil management, they are working to increase the zinc and iron content of pulse crops.

Today's announcement brings to 19 the number of projects funded under CIFSRF since 2009 and includes researchers from 11 Canadian universities and 26 developing-country organizations.

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About IDRC
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.

About CIDA
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 development objectives.

SOURCE International Development Research Centre

For further information:

Isabelle Bourgeault-Tassé
Senior Media Advisor, IDRC
(+1 613) 696-2343

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International Development Research Centre

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Canadian International Development Agency

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