Australia helps deliver food security with major international grant

Project aims to end hunger worldwide by improving the complex process of photosynthesis to increase crop production

An international consortium of scientists has received a $34 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations (Gates Ag One) fund to improve crop productivity and food security in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. 

Leading agriculture researchers from Australia’s national science agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are part of the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) project, an international collaboration with the University of Illinois, the University of California, Berkeley, Lancaster University, the University of Cambridge, the University of Essex in the UK and the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.

With the demand for protein set to double in places like Africa by 2050, CSIRO scientist Jose Barrero said the focus is now on improving staple food crops, including cowpea, in some of the most disadvantaged and harsh landscapes on the planet.

CSIRO scientist TJ Higgins said the goal is to develop new improved cowpea varieties that provide better yield and that help deliver global food security in light of the expected population growth in West Africa and the challenging impacts of climate change.

Image credit- shutterstock

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