Canada and Australia join forces to improve food security in Africa: $15 million project call launched

Boy in a field, Ethiopia. Photo credit Many Gyles ACIAR
Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the AIFSC launched a call for concept notes, Cultivate Africa’s Future (CultiAF), a 4-year, CA$15 million research partnership designed to combat hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa by harnessing the potential for innovation among the region’s smallholder farmers, the majority of whom are women.

The announcement, made at the 2013 Africa Agricultural Science Week conference, represents a significant investment in research that will help promote food security in eastern and southern Africa by improving post-harvest management, nutrition and water use. Managed by IDRC, and funded equally by IDRC and AIFSC, CultiAF contributes to Canada’s and Australia’s commitment to combat hunger and food insecurity throughout the developing world.

“Sub-Saharan African agricultural productivity is the lowest in the world. This program will support research to find more effective ways to increase productivity and food security,” says IDRC President Jean Lebel. This strategic partnership between IDRC and ACIAR will promote the use of existing science and technology expertise. “Canada’s IDRC is pleased to partner with Australia’s ACIAR to advance ideas and innovative breakthroughs that increase food security through practical science for development.” added Mr. Lebel.

“Australia and Canada prioritise food security as a key element in our aid agendas, and recognise the untapped potential of innovation for smallholder farmers in helping food reach those who need it”, says Mellissa Wood, Director of the AIFSC, which leads and funds ACIAR’s involvement in the CultiAF partnership.

Under the call, research organisations from 10 countries – Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – are eligible to compete for grants of up to CA$3 million dollars each.

Winning collaborative research projects should help smallholder farmers reduce post-harvest loss of crops; improve yields and livestock productivity through better water use; and improve nutrition.  Resulting innovations are expected to be of use to other parts of Africa and will support national and regional food security efforts on the continent.

The deadline for the submission of concept notes is September 20, 2013, 17:00 East African Time (EAT), 10:00 Eastern Standard Time (EST)

To find out more about the fund and how to apply visit