food security innovation: research by robert bertram, usaid

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IFPRI-IRRI Policy Seminar “Innovations in Science and Policy: Transforming the Rural Sector for Improved Food Security” on September 26, 2014. Presentation by Robert Bertram, Chief Scientist, Bureau for Food Security, USAID.


  • 1. Food Security Innovation: Research 1 1 3 Major Research Programs Integrated Cross- Cutting Programs Program anchoring research in key farming systems Program for Safe and Nutritious Foods Program for Policy Research and Support Program for Human and Institutional Capacity Building

2. We have to intensify agriculture, but sustainably The challenge is to achieve sustainable transformation via smallholder farmers Existing and future technologies are essential Context for technology scale-up is crucial Integration of multiple technologies is needed 3. Single crops, low diversity Extended periods of unprotected soil Poor water management Low intensity cropping systems 4. Extend the growing season Integrate perennial crops Integrate legumes for nitrogen Infiltration Uptake Drainage Intercropping with a legume Nutrient recycling Integrate livestock & aquaculture Appropriately scaled mechanization Integrating more complex practices 5. Infiltration Uptake Drainage Climate change: adaptation & mitigation Better water management Greater diversification to reduce risk Improved input efficiency - fewer GHG emissions Greater soil carbon and nitrogen levels offset GHG Reduced land conversion 6. Evaporation Uptake Drainage Improved nutritional quality through biofortification of cereals/legumes (including as fodder) Tolerance to higher temperatures Improved photosynthetic efficiency (on the longer horizon) Maintain productivity with less water, including tolerance to moderate drought More efficient usage of soil nitrogen (both organic and synthetic) Tolerant of more saline soils & brackish water (including removing salt from soils) Reduce tillage through biotech-enabled weed management Innovations in plant breeding 7. Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia Sustainable System Transformation New varieties Innovative Policies Improved Management Diversification 8. Transforming production systems in Africa through Sustainable Intensification Maize-legume-livestock systems in East and Southern Africa Crop livestock systems in Ethiopian Highlands Cereal based farming systems in West Africa Africa RISING 9.