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Home > Press > Harper Government Invests in Scientific Research to Fight Global Hunger

Abstract:
Scientific research developed through an innovative fund will help find solutions to combat world hunger and poverty. Today, Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Julian Fantino, announced Canada's contribution to the second phase of the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF).

Harper Government Invests in Scientific Research to Fight Global Hunger

Guelph, Canada | Posted on April 6th, 2013

"The Harper Government is committed to increasing food security to those most in need as part of Canada's effective international assistance through investing in scientific research and innovation," said Parliamentary Secretary Brown. "Canadian universities, businesses, and NGOs have expertise that they can share with the world. Together, we can use innovation to put an end to global hunger."

The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund is a joint initiative between the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). It supports innovative research partnerships between Canadian and developing-country researchers to respond to immediate food needs while increasing access to quality, nutritious food over the long term. Phase 2 will focus on connecting promising research results to public and private sector organizations that can get them to end users on a larger scale.

"IDRC and CIDA have a long history of supporting Canada's leadership in agricultural research and innovation for development," said Jean Lebel, Acting President of IDRC. "CIFSRF demonstrates our mutual commitment to achieving sustainable results that put Canada's considerable experience in agricultural and nutrition science to work globally to ensure farmers have access to new technologies and specialized expertise to keep pace with the growing demand for food. Through CIFSRF, we are also expanding Canada's scientific base and contributing to the country's science and technology strategy."

The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, first launched in 2009, currently supports 19 projects, bringing together some of the best researchers from 11 Canadian and 26 developing-country organizations, as well as partners from scientific, private sector and civil society organizations, to develop innovative solutions to improve global food security.

Phase 1 has delivered concrete results in developing countries. Among the early successes is a project led by researchers at the University of Guelph and those in India and Sri Lanka. Together, they have developed an innovative packaging system that reduces significantly post-harvest losses in mangoes, a vital fruit crop in South Asia, using state-of-the-art nanotechnology. The technology could also benefit Canadian tender-fruit farmers.

"This project reflects the University of Guelph's commitment to being engaged globally," said Kevin Hall, Vice-President (Research), University of Guelph. "Working with CIDA and IDRC, the goal is to find ways to use our research and training strengths to address critical issues such as food security and scarcity and to find simple solutions that improve the quality of people's daily lives. In addition to economic benefits, we want our efforts to help bring about positive social change."

Parliamentary Secretary Brown also announced today the 2013 call for new research projects under the second phase of the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund. The call places strong emphasis on participation from women in developing countries, and on private sector partners who can move quickly to bring the results of the agricultural research to the farmers and communities who need them most.

Support for Phase 2 of the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund was announced by Prime Minister Harper in 2011.

The Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirms Canada's commitment to increased funding for advanced research to support innovation for a strong knowledge economy. As announced in EAP2013, the new department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation and humanitarian assistance.

For more information, please visit IDRC's Canadian International Food Security Research Fund web page and CIDA's food security web page.

Backgrounder

Canadian International Food Security Research Fund Phase 2

The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), a joint initiative between CIDA and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), supports research partnerships between Canadian and developing-country organizations.

Today's announcement commits CIDA and IDRC to contributing $62.5 million over the next five years to the second phase of the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF Phase 2).

The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund advances CIDA's Food Security Strategy, which focuses on three priorities: sustainable agricultural development, research and development, and food assistance and nutrition. These priorities work toward helping developing countries become more food self-sufficient, an essential base for long-term development and poverty reduction.

The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund supports a wide variety of research projects that aim to solve issues related to the availability of, and access to, sufficient, safe and nutritious foods in developing countries. It is designed to target women, and the most food insecure and vulnerable, by addressing the priorities of subsistence farmers and their organizations. The Fund will focus on promising research and innovations that can address immediate food needs while increasing access to quality, nutritious food over the long term.

Launched in 2009, the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund is already generating tangible results. For example, research in India has produced a more efficient and labour-saving technology for de-hulling grains. This improves their quality so they can be more easily used in cooking, or processed into higher-value food products for sale. This technology could be readily transferable to other small-grain-producing regions, such as in West Africa. As well, research on animal vaccines is developing a single vaccine that will protect livestock from all five of the most important livestock diseases in Africa. This vaccine will be easier to distribute and will be more affordable for farmers. Finally, research on tender fruit has resulted in the development of a fibre using nanotechnology that can safely and easily be used at farm level to preserve fruit for transport and sale in more distant markets.

Research activities in Phase 1 focused on applied research to address food insecurity, and included work on improving the resilience and nutritional value of crops, as well as control of infectious diseases related to crops and animal production. The three objectives of Phase 1 were as follows:

Increase food security in developing countries through funding research in agricultural development and nutrition;

Apply Canadian science and technology expertise in collaboration with developing-country partners to address food security; and

Use research results to inform food security policies and programs.

While CIFSRF Phase 2 will continue to work to achieve these objectives, its main focus will be on scaling up promising research results and innovations in developing countries.

CIFSRF Phase 2 will support some of the Phase 1 research projects, as well as other promising initiatives, in scaling up research results. Phase 2 will be open to African countries and other developing countries where Phase 1 projects took place, and will be aligned with these countries' national food security research priorities. Phase 2 will welcome partnerships with private sector firms, national and regional government agencies, and civil society organizations working in food security in order to facilitate the successful scale-up of promising innovations.

Phase 2 of the Fund's expanded focus on Africa supports Africa's Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme and the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, both of which promote public-private sector partnerships that strengthen agricultural research systems and help farmers to adopt new technologies.

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For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
819-953-6238


Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
819-953-6534

Follow us on Twitter: @CIDA_CA

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