DES MOINES, Iowa – The University of Florida and a leading Africa-based international research institute are bringing their scientists together to speed the science of fighting hunger, poverty, and pollution.
The UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences pursued the initiative with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture to expand the university’s efforts in Africa.
“Africa has two great sources of appeal from a scientist’s point of view,” said Jack Payne, UF’s senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources. “For one, it offers great opportunity to put science to work improving lives. In addition, it is home to a corps of talented scientists such as those at IITA who are invaluable partners in that science.”
Payne signed the agreement during World Food Prize events in Iowa, a gathering of the world’s leading experts in agriculture as a tool to lift people out of poverty and to feed a world population expected to rise to 10 billion by 2050.
Director General Nteranya Sanginga signed the agreement on behalf of IITA. He did so after participating in a panel discussion organized by UF/IFAS on the fall armyworm’s threat to African food security.
“IITA and UF/IFAS share a common approach to science. We see discovery as a source of solutions, a catalyst for action, and the foundation for international cooperation,” Sanginga said. “Combining our expertise will accelerate inquiry and is expected to hasten the identification of solutions to address the fall armyworm problem.”
Sanginga is a founding member of the Fall Armyworm Science Advisory Board that UF/IFAS convened in Iowa. The board seeks to combat the rapid spread of an insect that threatens maize crops on which 200 million Africans depend for food security.
“UF/IFAS needs African expertise if it hopes to make great impact on African challenges. Dr. Sanginga and IITA are world-renowned not only for their expertise but for their willingness to share that expertise with other organizations,” Payne said.
The five-year pact between IITA and UF/IFAS is a broad framework for cooperation. It lays the foundation for the identification and implementation of specific joint scientific projects.
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.