As part of Feed the Future, the federal government's global hunger and food security initiative, Michigan State University will use a $10 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development to strengthen developing countries' abilities to fight hunger through improved food policy.
The new Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy will be led by MSU's Food Security Group, partnering with the International Food Policy Research Institute, in Washington, D.C., and the University of Pretoria, in South Africa. An additional $15 million of grant funding could be made available for more intensive country-level programs throughout the next five years.
"The Obama administration's Feed the Future initiative is a well-designed and powerful program to reduce poverty and improve nutritional outcomes around the globe," said Duncan Boughton, co-director of the Food Security Group, who will lead the MSU program. "Improvements in food policy achieved through the Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy will further increase the effectiveness and impact of these investments."
Together, the consortium will work with governments, researchers and private sector stakeholders in as many as 19 Feed the Future focus countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to increase agricultural productivity, improve dietary diversity and build greater resilience to challenges, like climate change, that affect livelihoods, he said.
The result: higher incomes for farmers, higher quality diets at lower cost for consumers and greater stability in food markets.
MSU's lab draws on the expertise of a top university and represents a new model of development, using science and technology to address the greatest challenges in agriculture and food security, said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah.
"The Food Security Policy Innovation Lab builds directly on President Obama's leadership in launching the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition last year," Shah said. "It will help many more countries worldwide achieve major policy reforms, attract significant private sector investments and increase economic opportunities for smallholder farmers, other rural people and urban consumers."
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