Australia is now on the ground in Africa to better support local and regional efforts to boost food security.
The Australian International Food Security Center has established a regional office in Nairobi, Kenya, according to Foreign Minister Bob Carr. The center is an initiative of the Australian government designed to support food security and agriculture research and accelerate the transfer of knowledge to farmers and other stakeholders. Australia has pledged an initial $33 million for the center, which currently holds base in Canberra.
“This presence in Africa will help to manage the projects, identify partners, build relationships with African organizations and further the potential for benefits across the continent,” AIFSC said in a statement.
The center currently supports three pilot initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa, which is its initial geographical region. Over the years, it is expected to broaden its scope to include other African regions as well as Asia and the Pacific.
Announced in October 2011, AIFSC will formally introduce its strategy at a planned high-level event this November. Among possible future activities are funding challenges designed to solicit innovative agriculture development and food security ideas as well as identify new partners.
In terms of partners, the center is looking for organizations that can co-invest in projects aligned with its strategy. These partners can be public institutions, private groups or nongovernmental organizations involved in helping small farmers get access to appropriate technologies and research innovations.
Meanwhile, AIFSC is creating a high-level advisory committee proposed to comprise of two Africans, two Australians and two international members.
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