East Lansing’s Michigan State University Food Security Group (FSG) has received an $11 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development to assist developing nations with food security policymaking. With additional funding from USAID offices in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the total value of the five-year award could reach $38 million.
Part of MSU’s Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, the Food Security Group will use the grant to implement a new Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research, Capacity, and Influence.
The new lab builds on previous work done by group, but takes a step forward in working with local agricultural policy research organizations to strengthen their ability to carry out rigorous research on food security policy, and incorporate this research into policymaking, according to David Tschirley, an MSU professor, co-director of Food Security Group, and director of the new Innovation Lab.
To do this, MSU has partnered with the Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI), an African organization operating primarily in East and Southern Africa, and with the Institute of Statistical, Social, and Economic Research (ISSER) in Ghana.
“The lab’s activities are designed to put these local partners in charge of their own capacity development in a team-based approach that draws on strengths from all consortium partners,” says Tschirley.
Working with ReNAPRI, ISSER, and with its U.S. partners the International Food Policy Research Institute and Cornell University, the Innovation Lab will target promising research centers in Africa and Asia, to develop their own capacity development plans, and provide funding to pursue those plans. Researchers from MSU, IFPRI and Cornell also will work directly with researchers from these centers, mentoring them in research and writing techniques, to help build this capacity. These centers will then engage directly with their countries’ policy makers, to bring insights from the research into better policymaking that improves rural and urban food security.
“This new award reflects USAID’s increasing commitment to building sustainable local capacity for food security policy analysis and policy engagement,” says Tschirley. “The fact that MSU will lead this project is a testimony to MSU and FSG’s own commitment to these goals, to the unique capacity we bring to this kind of work, and to the very high performance of our previous work in this area. This funding will provide us a continued foundation for extending MSU’s world grant vision – the land-grant vision applied worldwide.”
Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. It focuses on transforming lives and on the root causes of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. It works hand-in-hand with partner countries to develop their agriculture sectors and break the cycle of poverty and hunger. Also, it helps people feed themselves and creates opportunities for a new generation of young people, while building a more stable world.