The Crop Science Centre has been awarded a donation from Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies for a five-year programme of work tackling key challenges faced by small-holder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
On receiving the donation, Professor Giles Oldroyd, Director of the Crop Science Centre, said “Currently small holder farmers suffer yield challenges from pests, diseases, heat, drought, and a lack of soil nutrients. As a result, crop yields in sub-Saharan Africa are well below their potential productivity. By combining innovative plant science from the University of Cambridge with agricultural expertise from NIAB, the Crop Science Centre is uniquely placed to help close this yield gap, which is currently exacerbating hunger and poverty.”
The work funded by the donation attempts to raise potential production for small-holder farmers, by addressing the availability of nutrients for crop production, improving the efficiency of carbon capture by plants through photosynthesis, and reducing crop losses from pests, pathogens and heat stress. These approaches reflect the breadth and depth of expertise at the Crop Science Centre.
Professor Mario Caccamo, NIAB’s CEO, said “This generous donation accelerates the impacts we can have at the Crop Science Centre and helps us focus on improving the livelihoods of some of the poorest farmers on the planet. With the support provided by the Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies we will strive to close the yield gap for small holder farmers.”
The programme of work will begin in October 2022 and will involve aligning research activities between Cambridge and partners in sub-Saharan Africa, aiming to strengthen the links between the Crop Science Centre and the researchers working in related fields in Africa