UF receives $49 million USAID award to aid in global food security

September 29, 2015
Beverly James
photographer: Stock photo

The U.S. Agency for International Development has awarded the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences a $49 million, five-year grant to help feed the world and end hunger.

The grant, which will be used to establish the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems, supports USAID’s agricultural research and capacity building work under Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

“Through our Feed the Future Innovation Labs, the U.S. government is empowering the world’s finest universities to help improve nutrition and end widespread hunger around the world,” said acting USAID administrator Alfonse E. Lenhardt. “By creating and scaling cutting-edge solutions to our most pressing agricultural challenges, we can help the world’s most vulnerable people move from dependency to self-sufficiency -- and out of the tragic cycle of extreme poverty.”

“With this latest award to UF/IFAS, USAID is now investing over $75 million in the University of Florida’s ability to provide leadership to the global food systems research, teaching and extension efforts,” said Jack Payne, UF’s senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.

This newest Feed the Future Innovation Lab will improve livestock productivity and the incomes and nutrition of livestock holders through appropriate improved technologies, capacity building and enabling policies, said Adegbola Adesogan, director of UF’s Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems and a professor of animal sciences.

“The program will help increase the resilience of vulnerable populations, reduce the environmental impact of livestock systems, and advance understanding of the rapidly evolving livestock systems and their roles in food safety and security, human nutrition, and human and animal health,” he said.

The Livestock Systems Innovation Lab will focus on six countries in West and East Africa and South Asia:  Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cambodia and Nepal.

“This grant provides a tremendous opportunity to contribute toward meeting the increasing global demand for livestock products specifically and food generally, “Adesogan said. “Our research and capacity building efforts will equip students, farmers and scientists in the focal countries with the knowledge and innovative technologies to significantly increase livestock productivity and improve the nutritional status of vulnerable families.” 

The award will strengthen global engagement at the University of Florida and allow the institution to better assist developing nations in addressing poverty and hunger, said Walter Bowen, director of UF/IFAS Global.

“By joining the ranks of the science-based Feed the Future Innovation Labs, the University of Florida continues a strong tradition of contributing to the research, education and extension needs of small holder farmers around the world,” he said.

Feed the Future is working to scale up proven technologies and activities, expand nutrition interventions and programs, and conduct research to create the next generation of innovations that can change the lives of food producers and their families. In 2014, Feed the Future reached nearly 7 million farmers and other food producers with new technologies and management practices, while reaching more than 12 million children with high-impact nutrition interventions that improve health and development.

About Feed the Future: Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition. For more information, visit www.feedthefuture.gov.

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