EU Delegation hails ICRISAT’s work in improving food and nutrition security in Mali – Mali

A European Union delegation visiting the ICRISAT Regional Center in Mali, led by HE Ambassador Bart Ouvry, congratulated ICRISAT and reaffirmed the grouping’s support for the Institute’s work to improve security food and nutrition of Malian farmers.

The Ambassador was accompanied by Kristina Kühnel, Ambassador of Sweden and representatives of the Embassies of Germany, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Denmark who visited the hub on June 29.

Ambassador Ouvry congratulated ICRISAT for winning the 2021 African Food Prize and for celebrating 50 years of scientific and humanitarian impact around the world.

“This research center deserves our support; it develops solutions to enable Sahelians to increase the quality and quantity of food. A fundamental issue with regard to the world food situation”, declared HE Bart Ouvry after a visit to the ICRISAT facilities.

In his opening presentation, Dr. Ramadjita Tabo, Regional Director of ICRISAT-West and Central Africa gave an overview of ICRISAT’s work over 50 years.

“Founded in 1972, ICRISAT’s mission is to help build the capacity of 600 million people to overcome hunger, poverty and environmental degradation in the semi-arid tropics through climate-resilient agriculture. climate,” said Dr Tabo.

In close collaboration with national research systems and their partners, ICRISAT has promoted the success of agricultural research by developing new crop varieties that are high yielding, rich in nutrients and adapted to different agro-climatic zones.

The institute has also spearheaded the development and dissemination of improved varieties and hybrids of sorghum, millet and groundnuts, which have enabled farmers to improve their productivity, supported by water conservation technologies and integrated soil fertility management such as micro-dosing of fertilizers. . Through its gene banks, the Institute preserves valuable genetic resources of millet, sorghum and groundnut.

Smart Foods

The visit began with an exhibition of “Smart Food” products made from millet, sorghum, peanuts and cowpeas.

Speaking at the event, Ms. Agathe Diama, Regional Communications Manager and Smart Food Coordinator, ICRISAT – West and Central Africa, spoke about the growing importance of smart food.

“The Smart Food initiative aims to promote healthy diets through the production and development of nutrient-dense, climate-resilient and locally available crops to improve the nutrition and livelihoods of smallholder farmers,” said Mrs Diamond.

“The ‘Smart Food’ initiative aims in particular to provide children with a balanced daily diet through the use of cereals bio-fortified with iron and zinc,” added Dr Tabo.

The delegation also visited ICRISAT’s modern aflatoxin laboratory, gene bank and experimental greenhouses. Demonstrations were provided using digital technology for agricultural surveys and innovative port harvesting equipment which was praised for overcoming traditional data collection challenges.

ICRISAT – EU collaboration

ICRISAT Director General Dr. Jacqueline Hughes said the delegation’s visit was both warmly welcomed and encouraging given the escalating food security challenges facing developing countries given the changing geopolitics, climate change and weak institutional frameworks, as some of the problems facing predominantly agrarian developing economies.

“ICRISAT recognizes the generosity and progressive support that the EU is providing to address some of the most critical challenges facing smallholder farmers in drylands today, and we have been delighted to work in partnership to provide the solutions. required.

“Our collaboration on the EU-funded project ‘Enhancing Crop Productivity and Climate Resilience for Food Security and Nutrition in Mali’ is just one example of this approach.

“We look forward to continuing our engagement with our friends and partners in the EU to strengthen our collaboration to better meet the food and nutritional needs of around 2.1 billion people in drylands,” said Dr Hughes. .

The ICRISAT regional research center located in Samanko, a few kilometers from Bamako, hosts several other research institutes (Worldveg, ICRAF, IITA, ILRI) working on improving crop productivity and climate resilience for food security and nutrition in Mali.

Background

The development of agriculture and the improvement of food and nutritional security constitute a major area of ​​intervention for the European Union.

The EU-funded project “Improving crop productivity and climate resilience for food security and nutrition in Mali” is implemented by ICRISAT. The project aims to contribute to the sustainable increase of agricultural productivity and farmers’ incomes in the context of climate change in four regions (Sikasso, Kayes, Ségou and Koulikoro), targeting 10,000 producers.

The Netherlands and Germany are also funding research projects through ICRISAT for the scaling up of improved groundnut varieties and new high-yielding, high-nutrient varieties of sorghum and millet. nutrients.

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