Michigan State University researchers will use a $7.8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help eight African nations improve their sustainable farming methods.
The grant, from the Gates Foundation Global Development Program, will be used to help guide policymaking efforts to intensify farming methods that meet agricultural needs while improving environmental quality in Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
Programs like this are paramount to Africa, as demonstrated by more than $2.5 billion in annual spending by African governments on agricultural intensification, said Thomas Jayne, project co-director and MSU agricultural, food and resource economics faculty member.
“All of the partners have made a long-term commitment to help this region’s programs reach their full potential,” he said. “MSU has longstanding expertise in this field, and our commitment to institution building was a major reason as to why the Gates Foundation put its trust in MSU for this grant.”
The team will focus on three key crops – maize, sorghum and rice – and seek to improve seed development, fertilization and crop rotation to increase yields in a sustainable manner.