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Food and nutrition security alliance to include FARA

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) has announced its inclusion in the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition

The technology platform, which has been formed by the G8 nations, will be launched at the Africa Agriculture Science Week in July 2013.

Welcoming the decision, FARA said the new partnership with the private sector is a step in the right direction because it connects the agricultural investment plans that have been developed by 20 African countries under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

"This is a positive show of commitment to an African-driven agenda that will be more relevant, sustainable and have greater impact," said FARA chairman Dr Tiemoko Yo,

Appreciating the support for agricultural risk management, FARA called for greater attention to the risks associated with climate change in order to enhance food and nutrition security, and agricultural development.

Climate change has proved to be a major risk to smallholder farmers, with drought, floods and pests becoming increasingly hazardous on the continent.

In some of the areas where the G8 countries had pledged assistance, FARA has already been involved in supporting the accelerated release, adoption and consumption of bio-fortified crop varieties.

These include protein-enriched maize and sweet potatoes fortified with vitamin A in pilot countries across Africa, specifically through its platform on Dissemination of New Agricultural Technologies in Africa (DONATA).

FARA has also been promoting access to food and nutritional technologies and establishing open access platforms to provide agricultural information through its Regional Agricultural Information and Learning Systems (RAILS).

The forum highlighted its support of safe use of biotechnology in agriculture under the project on Strengthening Capacity for Safe Biotechnology Management (SABIMA) in sub-Saharan Africa which has been launched in six pilot countries.

FARA is an umbrella organisation bringing together and forming coalitions of major stakeholders in agricultural research and development in Africa.