Sustainable Nutrition Research for Africa in the Years to come (SUNRAY) – (IRINNews)

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FOOD: Home-grown nutrition research for Africa

JOHANNESBURG, 21 April 2011 (IRIN) – A group of international academic institutions and an NGO backed by the European Union (EU) have launched Sustainable Nutrition Research for Africa in the Years to come, or SUNRAY, to develop a nutrition agenda for Africa, with specific emphasis on the 34 sub-Saharan countries.

“We want to make sure nutrition interventions in the next 10-15 years – when Africa faces potential environmental changes which will impact on nutrition – are sustainable, driven by African countries, and their priorities are not pre-defined by donors,” said Carl Lachat, a researcher at the Belgium-based Institute for Tropical Medicine, one of the participating institutions.

A recent study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), a US-based think-tank, found that in another two decades the effect of climate change on food production could drive child malnutrition up by 20 percent.

The two-year SUNRAY project has invited proposals for working papers from African researchers to review the relationship between nutrition and climate change; the influence of rising food prices; the future availability of water; social dynamics in households, and the effect of rapid urbanization, among other themes in order to identify the specific research needs for nutrition in these areas.

Research in Africa

Proposals for working papers will be assessed by academics at four universities in sub-Saharan Africa: North-West University in South Africa; Sokoine University in Tanzania; the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin; and Makerere University in Uganda.

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Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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