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Through an East African lens

This year’s series has been focusing on the multiple uses of land for agriculture, ecosystem services and biodiversity, and how conflicts and trade-offs come into play with land-use decision making in the context of an ever-growing human population and climate change threat. A number of critical global trends and research areas have been identified and in May, we will explore some of them in greater depth for one specific region: East Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa is a critical hotspot of hunger and under-nutrition, and also an area whose food security is expected to be impacted seriously by future climate change. At a pivotal moment for agriculture and food security in East Africa, this meeting will pick up themes from previous Forum meetings to explore questions related to the food security and future of agriculture, livelihoods and biodiversity conservation in the region.

We are co-hosting this with the Global Food Security Initiative and the Cambridge-Africa Programme and you can find out more about them by following the links on the right.

On the panel of witnesses, Liz Watson from the Department of Geography will be joining Tinashe Chiurugwi, a Research Associate from the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) and Alison Mollon, the Acting Head of the Africa and Madagascar Regional Programme at Fauna and Flora International.

Liz will discuss food production and the challenges it faces in the East African region. Her focus will be on dryland agricultural systems which includes smallholders and livestock managers (pastoralists) and there is also an article about her work in Kenya the University Research News website.

Tinashe is interested in crop development and technology transfer in Africa. One of the projects he is working on is a new Agri-Transfer project in Kenya to support the uptake of new crop varieties by smallholder farmers and promote new agricultural and dissemination technologies (more details).

FFI’s Africa and Madagascar programme covers a wide range of conservation landscapes and critical habitats in sub-Saharan countries and their projects aim to generate the incentives to local communities for sustainable use of sensitive habitats and species, and mechanisms to support the management of communal areas of land, coast and sea. Alison will draw on examples from across these and she recommended that we should look at the FFI website provides an overview of where they work and what they do (more details).

This meeting is being co-hosted with the Cambridge University Strategic Initiative in Global Food Security. This research initiative aims to integrate scientific and technological innovation in food quality, yield and sustainability with interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the behavioural, social and political conditions of food security.

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The CAMBRIDGE-AFRICA Programme (which incorporates THRiVE, CAPREx, MUII, Alborada Fund and the WT-CCGHR initiatives) aims to strengthen Africa's own capacity for a sustainable research and mentoring culture, by cultivating the talented individuals who will make this long-term goal a reality.

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