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New research initiative to improve food security launched

11 January 2011

DFID is supporting a new research initiative to improve food security for millions of people in the developing world.

The new initiative will fund teams from the UK, India and developing countries to work on research projects to improve the sustainability of vital food crops.

The research will particularly investigate ways to improve the disease-resistance and stress-tolerance of staple crops in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Stephen O'Brien, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development said:

"Millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are dependent on staple crops such as maize and rice both as a source of food and income. If disease or difficult growing conditions limit their harvest then the consequences can be devastating, with families unable to afford medical care or school fees, and children at real risk of becoming malnourished.

"Reducing the unpredictability of growing crops helps to ensure that the poorest countries are able to feed their people, cope with sudden global food price changes, and ultimately boost economic growth."

Last updated: 11 Jan 2011