An interview with Ms Mellissa Wood, director of the Australian International Food Security Centre [AIFSC]. The Australian prime minister established AIFSC as part of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to strengthen the Australian government’s contribution to global food security.


....Rapid population growth across Africa is a major problem for food insecurity – demand for food staples is expected to double by 2020; however, population is only one of the drivers. African countries need to not only grow more food than they do now, but also to make sure this food is nutritious, affordable and accessible to the population....


...The AIFSC plans to fund research in each of these areas to help address food insecurity in Africa. The focus of our activities is into better understanding of how to accelerate the uptake of research innovations by the smallholder farmers of Africa...We know that there are some great innovations, such as new seed varieties, novel agricultural and irrigation practices, new storage, and marketing and food processing opportunities that could really help boost food security across Africa. But for a range of reasons, these are not getting into the hands of the farmers who really need them...


AIFSC has been allocated A$33m in its first tranche of funding, which to date, has boosted by an average of 50% through co-contributions from our project partners.


In addition, [AIFSC] has also just initiated a new partnership with Canada’s International Development and Research Centre (IDRC) where we have each contributed to create a new Food Security Fund of A$15m. This alliance has, in essence, added another $7.5m to boost our food security efforts.


These funds will be spent in the eastern and southern regions of the African continent. Our research is being undertaken in 10 countries: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Via Robin Landis