Experts from different scientific fields and international research organizations shared their expertise on food and nutrition security on Monday 16 June, 2014 at the FoodAfrica midterm seminar. The seminar, organized by FoodAfrica co-ordinators MTT Agrifood Research Finland, was held at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Karen Marshall and Stanly Tebug were part of the team that represented the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). They shared their experiences through a series of six posters and two video films on the ILRI-led FoodAfrica programme “Senegal Dairy Genetics”. This programme works in conjunction with more than 230 dairy farming families in Senegal, and aims to determine which breed-types of dairy cattle are best suited to the local production system.

Senegal Dairy Genetics also wants to disseminate this information; to characterise the dairy germplasm production chain, and related policies, and use this information to develop a strategy for strengthened dairy germplasm production and delivery systems and finally, to enhance local human, institutional and organi­zational capacity on accessing and promoting different breeds/cross-breeds of livestock.

Senegal Dairy Genetics is run in partnership with the Interstate School of Veterinary Science and Medicine of Dakar, the University of Helsinki and Agrifood Research Finland. It is funded via the Finnish Government’s FoodAfrica Programme to enhance food security in West and East Africa. FoodAfrica’s objective is to provide new knowledge and tools for researchers, decision makers and local farmers to improve local food security.

MTT Agrifood Research Finland, note on their website that ‘investing in agricultural research in developing countries is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase sustainable food production worldwide. Research-based knowledge enables enhanced food production, access to food, food safety and nutrition’.

Further, MTT notes that agriculture has a vital significance for sub-Saharan African countries, as it is the biggest economic sector throughout the area, and a majority of the population gains livelihood through farming. A great potential for economical development and better well being of people lies in agriculture.

Read more about the Senegal Dairy Genetics project here, and here. Visit the project blog here.


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