The United States Government through its Agency for International Development (USAID), has announced a $29 million investment to support aquatic and fish farmers in Nigeria, Bangladesh, Kenya and Zambia.
USAID said this as it revealed a five-year extension for two research partnerships under Feed the Future, the US government’s global hunger and food security initiative.
The million-dollar investment aims to boost the productivity and income of small-scale farmers and fishermen, promoting more affordable, nutritious food production.
According to the agency, $15 million is led by Mississippi State University while $14 million is led by Michigan State University for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish and Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Legume Systems Research programs respectively.
“The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish works to strengthen the climate resilience of fisheries and other aquatic food systems – such as the harvesting of shellfish and seaweed – in Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kenya, and Zambia,” the USAID said in a recent statement.
“Aquatic foods are nutritious sources of animal protein and, as one of the world’s most traded agricultural products, are also important sources of income for aquatic farmers and fishers.
“Building on years of research, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish develops and scales innovations that sustainably increase fish production while also prioritising natural resource conservation and the needs of producers and fishers.
“This new phase of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish will prioritnise increasing sustainable and climate-smart practices, such as enhancing the ability of coastal wetlands and other aquatic ecosystems to store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The US government further said that the extension would also focus on increasing food safety and inclusivity along aquatic food value chains, so more people could benefit from nutritious diets and decent livelihoods.
It added, “Through this innovative research, production of these new legume varieties will be scaled up and brought to market, increasing both the resilience of legume farmers’ livelihoods and the availability of nutritious food. The program will also expand to reach more communities in new regions of Africa and, for the first time, into Latin America and the Caribbean.
“The extension will also enable the lab to continue their important research on empowering women and young people within the legume production systems, which has already shown strong results in providing economic opportunities to rural women’s groups and has supported more than 60 students to achieve higher education degrees.”