The new programme AgriFoSe, Agriculture for Food Security 2030, a 60 million swedish krona investment by Sida, was launched last week at the SLU Campus near Uppsala. AgriFoSe is developed by a consortium of scientists from SLU, Lund University, Gothenburg University and Stockholm Environment Institute, SEI and is hosted by SLU Global.
AgriFoSe focuses on the realization of the Sustainable Development Goal #2 in low-income countries through a science-based approach on local, regional and global scales.
Dr. Appolinaire Djikeng, Director of the Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa hub, part of ILRI, gave the audience an African perspective, linking to smallholder farming communities. He explained that “70% of the population in Africa benefits from improved agricultural practices either directly or indirectly”. That is why he was thrilled to hear that AgriFoSe is set up not only as a programme that will expand to become a global network, but also that it will connect food security policies and the SDGs with the local level. “We need to include smallholders, and we should empower them by bringing them closer to research”.
Indeed, AgriFoSe will begin with drawing on the already existing networks within bilateral university cooperation and the CGIAR system. The program is organized in cross-disciplinary themes that closely interact: i) Social and economic dimensions of smallholder agriculture ii) Multifunctional landscapes in agriculture iii) Increased productivity and diversity in smallholder cropping systems iv) Livestock-keeping among smallholders for a nutritious diet and increased food security.
Ambassador Lennart Båge, Vice Chair SLU Board and former President of IFAD introduced the seminar highlighting SLU’s outstanding contribution to a food secure world. Referring to the Swedish Agency for Research and Cooperation with developing Countries, SAREC which was launched in the 70s and has since long been part of Sida, Båge pointed out that the very same key questions are as topical today as 30-40 years ago: “It was also about engaging and partnering with relevant stakeholders to work towards a world free of hunger. It was about how to reach out to smallholder farmers with advice, communication and links to market systems.” However, there is a critical difference today: we are facing the adverse effects of climate change.
Ambassador Kajsa B Olofsgård, Swedish Chief Negotiator for the UN Agenda 2030, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, stated that we are entering a paradigm shift, where issues related to development are merged with the agenda on climate change: “It was critical that we had a major financing for development meeting in Addis Ababa during summer 2015 before the adoption of the SDGs in September, and COP21 in Paris would not have been as positive and momentous if it hadn’t been for the SDGs process –they all depend on each other.”
“In the light of implementing the SDGs, it is great that Sida sees the importance of supporting Swedish science-based knowledge within the area of food security, through this program” says Ylva Ran, SEI, who is a team member of the AgriFoSe consortium. Ulf Magnusson, Programme Director of AgriFoSe fills in: “The program will be an important component in targeting SDGs by a science based approach in which researchers from Sweden and low-income countries will work closely together for improved agricultural practices and policies. ”
Anneli Sundin, Communications Assistant at SIANI and SEI, will be supporting SEI’s communications for the AgriFoSe programme.
Read more here: http://www.slu.se/en/international/slu-global/agrifose/