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IDRC announces scale-up of ground-breaking solutions to improve food security in developing countries

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OTTAWA, April 27, 2015 – Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) today announced CA$17 million in new funding for projects that will make food more secure and nutritious in developing countries. The four projects are part of an effort to scale up the most promising research supported under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF).

"Our Government's investments through the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund are resulting in more nutritious and diversified diets and higher incomes for developing-country farmers and their families," said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie. "Canada is committed to supporting agricultural research and innovation to help increase food security and make a meaningful difference in the lives of those most in need."

"These international collaborations will help tens of thousands of farmers and fishers produce more food, earn a higher income, and provide local consumers with much needed essential nutrients that are missing from their diets. At the same time, we are identifying the most effective ways of taking promising food security solutions and achieving large-scale impacts with them," said IDRC President Jean Lebel.

CIFSRF is a $124-million fund that works to increase food security in developing countries by funding research in agricultural innovation and nutrition, and fostering collaboration between developing-country researchers and Canadian experts. The results help governments, institutions, private enterprises, and farmers adopt better food security policies and practices.

To date, more than 100,000 women and men farmers in poor communities around the globe have worked with researchers to achieve many significant results. CIFSRF is now looking to expand the reach of the most promising solutions. IDRC and DFATD announced three projects to scale up some of these results on January 23, 2015. They are announcing four more today:

Canadian, Beninese, and Nigerian researchers will help more farmers grow underutilized indigenous vegetables using improved farming practices—such as fertilizer micro-dosing and rain-water harvesting—that can sustainably increase yields, save on costs, and preserve soils and water. The team will expand the farming practices to 50,000 farmers and promote demand through indigenous vegetable farming and processing enterprises.

Researchers from Canada and Ethiopia have improved chickpea and bean varieties, soil health, and human nutrition in a region of Ethiopia where chickpea production was not considered viable. They will bring the higher-yielding, more nutritious grains to more than 35,000 farming households in Southwestern Ethiopia, helping to ensure their food and nutritional security.

A Canadian-Bolivian team of researchers will further develop the sustainable fishing of arapaima among indigenous people and expand a primarily women-led small-scale aquaculture industry in the Bolivian Amazon. More than 10,000 fishers and small-scale aquaculturalists will benefit from their work, and make fish available to 400,000 consumers.

A team of Canadian and Cambodian researchers will focus on nutrition and market development to extend a homestead food production system to some 22,500 families in several ecological areas of Cambodia. The system aims to diversify farmers' rice-based diet by integrating aquaculture, poultry-farming, home gardening, and nutrition education.

This funding for scaling-up will allow the research teams to further develop the new technologies and involve partners who can bring them to market to reach greater numbers of smallholder farmers.

For more information on the four projects, see Backgrounder More information on CIFSRF is available at Read more about other CIFSRF results in this Achievements Brief

The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund is a program of Canada's International Development Research Centre undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.

About IDRC A key part of Canada's foreign policy efforts, IDRC supports research in developing countries to promote growth and development. The result is innovative, lasting solutions that aim to improve lives and livelihoods.

About DFATD The mandate of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) is to manage Canada's diplomatic and consular relations, to encourage the country's international trade, and to lead Canada's international development and humanitarian assistance.

Media Contact: Jocelyn Sweet Email: / +1 613 696 2117 / @IDRC_CRDI