Diversified agriculture for a balanced nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa

In 2013 the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) launched the support scheme "International research cooperation on global food security and nutrition". Its goal is to make better use of the knowledge of German agricultural and nutritional research institutions to an even greater extent to improve food security and nutrition worldwide. In addition, German researchers are interested to establish a stronger international network in this area.

The title of the first call for research proposals published in 2013 was "Nutrition - Diversified Agriculture for a Balanced Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa"; the announcement described the research programme and encouraged interested applicants to submit project proposals.

The approved research projects examine the opportunities for nutrition-sensitive food production in the target region, i.e. food production that is geared to meet the nutritional needs of the population. In this context they examine how diversified agriculture can contribute tocounteract malnutrition in all its forms. In addition to this, it is planned to establish long-term partnerships and a competence network in this area to make a sustained contribution to food security and nutrition.

The projects address research questions related to integrated farming systems, address the importance of fruit and vegetables (in particular traditional local crops and neglected crop species)in a trans disciplinary manner, examine the benefits of integrated fish and horticultural production and address the challenges and benefits of urban farming. The projects aim to contribute to improving the nutritional status of the local population. The regional focus is on Eastern and Southern Africa, comprising countries such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africaand Madagascar. Each project has a knowledge management - and where suitable - policy component to solicit support for nutrition from national stakeholders who work in agricultural production (i.a. farmer organisations, research institutions, educational service providers and policy makers).

A total of eight projects will receive grants of more than eight million Euros under the "Nutrition" research announcement. The project period for the three-year projects is 2015-2018.
This research initiative makes an important contribution to closing knowledge gaps in the field of nutrition-sensitive food systems and to implementing the "Framework for Action" of the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) of November 2014.

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