Borlaug Institute receives USAID grant to lead irrigation project in East Africa
Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, has announced a new project funded by the agency and awarded to the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
The five-year, $12.5 million award creates the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-scale Irrigation, which will focus on methods and practices to enhance the use of small-scale irrigation in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana to the benefit of the regions’ farmers, coordinators said. The objective is to contribute to sustainable improvements to utilize scarce water supplies, thereby enhancing food production by smallholder farmers. Specifically, the project will work to identify interventions that positively affect small-scale irrigation, as well as develop management protocols and practices to reduce poverty and improve nutrition.
The project is a major effort of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, which last year alone reached nearly 7.5 million farmers with improved technologies and management practices in more than 19 countries around the world.
Dr. Craig Nessler, director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, said the award “shows a vote of confidence in our ability to benefit the world through extensive resources born of our own challenges in Texas with climate and drought.”
Dr. Neville Clarke, senior fellow of the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, and project co-director with Dr. Allan Jones, will lead the team of scientists at multiple locations of AgriLife Research. They will tackle development of new tools and knowledge for more effective and efficient use of water to meet increasing demands for food.
The research will begin with identifying constraints and opportunities to improving farmers’ access to small-scale irrigation technologies and will include introduction of new systems that will be used in practical demonstrations and adopted by African farmers where appropriate, according to Clarke. The project will also provide training in the use of the new technologies for in-country users — from government administrators to individual farmers — in implementing new capabilities.
Read the full news release at AgriLife TODAY for more information.