Michigan State University awarded $4.4 million for food security work in Mali

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MSU is using USAID funding to improve food security in Mali (view larger image)

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State University (MSU) has been awarded $4.4 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Mali to strengthen the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy and its efforts to battle hunger, reduce poverty and improve nutrition through better food policy in Mali. The grant supports USAID’s work under Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

The Mali Food Security Policy Research Program, led by the Food Security Policy Innovation Lab, promotes inclusive agricultural productivity growth, improved nutritional outcomes and enhanced livelihood resilience through an improved policy environment. This program combines applied research with policy engagement and capacity-building activities on top-priority policy themes such as farm productivity, gender, trade and agribusiness investment.

MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources professors Steven Haggblade and Melinda Smale and assistant professor Veronique Theriault, all in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, are the lead principal investigators on the project.

“At MSU, we are very excited about working with our local Malian partners at the Institut d’Economie Rural and the Institut Polytechnique Rural on important policy issues affecting the productivity and welfare of Malian farmers,” said Haggblade, who is in Mali to help with project startup.

The Food Security Policy Innovation Lab, housed at MSU, was launched three years ago with an initial USAID grant of $10 million. Over the years, additional awards have been granted to continue the Innovation Lab’s work. Other countries have received associate awards through the project, including Malawi, Senegal and Burma. Goals for these projects include providing effective technical support for policy formulation, engaging in effective communication to inform debate on agriculture and food security policy issues, and ensuring that gaps in expertise constraining effective agricultural policy reform are filled.

“Michigan State University is a global leader in agriculture and food research,” said Debbie Stabenow, a U.S. senator from Michigan and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. “Now, through the efforts of this important Innovation Lab, MSU will continue to help solve some of the most complex issues facing communities around the world. As an alum, I’m proud to see that Spartans are continuing to lead the way.”

MSU’s Food Security Group leads the Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C., and the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

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Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

About Feed the Future: Feed the Future is the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition. For more information, visit www.feedthefuture.gov.

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