German academics unite to deliver urban food security in Africa

German academics unite to deliver urban food security in Africa

8 May 2013. A team of German agricultural scientists, economists, ethnologists and geographers are working together to boost the productivity of urban farming in Africa. The project — called UrbanFoodPlus — is headed up by the Universities of Kassel and Bochum and aims to address challenges of soil fertility and limited water in order to drive urban food production in a number of African countries. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to the tune of 7.5m Euros over five years. Start date: June 1st, 2013.

The German team are partnering with 14 African institutes to develop ways to increase food production in urban areas and understand how this sort of farming can help generate economic growth. Initial research will take place in Burkina Faso and Ghana, before extending to other West African cities including Camaroon, Mali and Nigeria.

The plan is to conduct small crop-growing experiments, to interview growers, sellers and government officials as well as to teach local farmers about new techniques they can adopt, such as using charcoal as a water filter and organic fertiliser. There will be a range of project groups that will focus on different elements of food production. This includes a group looking into animal husbandry and the accumulation of dung for fertiliser; one group looking at the role of natural fertilisers and product hygiene and one looking at the possible politico-economical benefits from the suggested improvements.

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