New Horizon 2020 Project: InnovAfrica aims to improve food security with innovative approach

InnovAfrica stands for 'Innovations in Technology, Extension and Institutional Approaches towards Sustainable Agri-Food Systems to Promote Food and Nutrition Security in Africa'.

Around 80% of the food produced in Africa is currently grown by smallholder farms. According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, the production of these farms will probably have to increase by 70% to feed the growing population. Yields of African smallholder farms are amongst the lowest in the world due to factors including climate change, extreme weather, land degradation and limited access to water, mechanisation, improved seeds, fertilizers and information, as well as different socio-economic and political factors (source: project application text).

This project will test ways of intensifying agricultural food production in a sustainable way; selected agricultural systems will be communicated to smallholder farmers in several African countries via smart phone apps, social media and village-based ‘Knowledge Centres’. In addition the project will publish papers and policy briefs to be used in policy dialogue forums, and to contribute towards knowledge based policy formulation.

With a multi-disciplinary team composed of 16 partners from Europe and Africa, the project will identify the needs and opportunities of existing agricultural intensification systems, and improve selected product value chains using these new approaches, including novel extension and advisory services.

The project leader is Udaya Sekhar Nagothu, Senior Researcher and Director of International Projects (South and SE Asia and Africa) at the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO).

The four-year project has a total budget of 4.8 million Euros and will officially kick off with a workshop in Nairobi in April 2017.

Project keywords:

Food and Nutrition Security, Technological Innovation, Institutional Innovation, Sustainable Agriculture, Extension and Rural Advisory Services

Case countries:

Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Africa

Project partners:

  • Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) – Coordinator
  • Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa – International Livestock Research Institute Hub, Kenya – Coordinator
  • Haramaya University, Ethiopia
  • Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization
  • University of Malawi
  • Soils Food and Healthy Communities Organization, Malawi
  • Rwanda Agricultural Board
  • Modern Dairy Farmers Cooperative, Rwanda
  • Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Tanzania
  • Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Italy
  • Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek (DLO Foundation), Netherlands
  • Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
  • Agricultural Research Council (ARC), South Africa
  • International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) South Africa Regional Office
  • KIAG Grundbesitz GmbH, Germany

Source and further details: Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)