Improving food security and nutrition through research
Our $124 million Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF) in partnership with Global Affairs Canada, and $15 million Cultivating Africa’s Future (CultiAF) project with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, are helping to build more effective agricultural systems, produce more nutritious food, and create economic opportunities for smallholder farmers, most of them women.
Our researchers use a variety of approaches to:
- Inform policy with agriculture and food security research;
- Strengthen gender empowerment;
- Raise agricultural productivity;
- Foster market access and increasing incomes; and
- Improve nutrition.
Informing policy through agriculture and food security research
Improving the uptake of agricultural and food security research into policy and practice is a central objective of IDRC’s Agriculture and Food Security program. To maximize the impact of proven solutions, the program set out to inform and engage both Canadian and developing country policymakers. In Canada, the 2012 federal budget highlighted CIFSRF’s success, noting how the program leverages Canadian knowledge, innovation, and science in solving food security problems in developing countries.
Several CIFSRF projects contributed to national food security policies:
- In Bolivia, researchers and fishers participated in drafting a new fisheries and aquaculture law to strengthen the sector and expand fishers’ rights.
- In India, research on millet production and consumption contributed to policy debates about India’s 2013 National Food Security Act to pilot the inclusion of nutritious small millets in the public distribution system.
- The results of two livestock vaccine projects in South Africa and Kenya led to the formation of the Livestock Vaccine Innovation Fund, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Affairs Canada, and IDRC. The five-and-a-half year, CA$57 million partnership improves the health of livestock and the livelihoods of farmers by supporting the development, production, and commercialization of vaccines against livestock diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.