Posted in | Nanomaterials

Canada Invests in Nanotechnology and Research to Increase Global Food Security

Published on April 6, 2013 at 2:47 AM

Scientific research developed through an innovative fund will help find solutions to combat world hunger and poverty. Today, Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Julian Fantino, announced Canada's contribution to the second phase of the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF).

"The Harper Government is committed to increasing food security to those most in need as part of Canada's effective international assistance through investing in scientific research and innovation," said Parliamentary Secretary Brown. "Canadian universities, businesses, and NGOs have expertise that they can share with the world. Together, we can use innovation to put an end to global hunger."

The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund is a joint initiative between the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). It supports innovative research partnerships between Canadian and developing-country researchers to respond to immediate food needs while increasing access to quality, nutritious food over the long term. Phase 2 will focus on connecting promising research results to public and private sector organizations that can get them to end users on a larger scale.

"IDRC and CIDA have a long history of supporting Canada's leadership in agricultural research and innovation for development," said Jean Lebel, Acting President of IDRC. "CIFSRF demonstrates our mutual commitment to achieving sustainable results that put Canada's considerable experience in agricultural and nutrition science to work globally to ensure farmers have access to new technologies and specialized expertise to keep pace with the growing demand for food. Through CIFSRF, we are also expanding Canada's scientific base and contributing to the country's science and technology strategy."

The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, first launched in 2009, currently supports 19 projects, bringing together some of the best researchers from 11 Canadian and 26 developing-country organizations, as well as partners from scientific, private sector and civil society organizations, to develop innovative solutions to improve global food security.

Phase 1 has delivered concrete results in developing countries. Among the early successes is a project led by researchers at the University of Guelph and those in India and Sri Lanka. Together, they have developed an innovative packaging system that reduces significantly post-harvest losses in mangoes, a vital fruit crop in South Asia, using state-of-the-art nanotechnology. The technology could also benefit Canadian tender-fruit farmers.

"This project reflects the University of Guelph's commitment to being engaged globally," said Kevin Hall, Vice-President (Research), University of Guelph. "Working with CIDA and IDRC, the goal is to find ways to use our research and training strengths to address critical issues such as food security and scarcity and to find simple solutions that improve the quality of people's daily lives. In addition to economic benefits, we want our efforts to help bring about positive social change."

Parliamentary Secretary Brown also announced today the 2013 call for new research projects under the second phase of the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund. The call places strong emphasis on participation from women in developing countries, and on private sector partners who can move quickly to bring the results of the agricultural research to the farmers and communities who need them most.

Support for Phase 2 of the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund was announced by Prime Minister Harper in 2011.

The Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirms Canada's commitment to increased funding for advanced research to support innovation for a strong knowledge economy. As announced in EAP2013, the new department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will maintain the mandate of poverty alleviation and humanitarian assistance.

For more information, please visit IDRC's Canadian International Food Security Research Fund web page and CIDA's food security web page.

Source: http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/

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