South Africa’s Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and a Malawian university have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on scientific solutions to address food security threats facing the Southern African Development Community region and beyond.
The partnership with the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) is described as a significant development for agriculture. This,as the world experiences enormous population growth, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the negative impact of climate change is affecting millions of livelihoods.
The ARC and Luanar aim to develop innovative solutions to alleviate poverty and build capacity for researchers, farmers, and other stakeholders in the region.
Dr Litha Magingxa, ARC president and chief executive, and Professor Emmanuel Kaunda, Luanar vice-chancellor, led the virtual signing ceremony. Luanar is a strategic partner that has developed science graduates who make exceptional impact in communities they serve, while the ARC continues to develop training skills tailored to assist farming communities with various challenges and needs.
Through this partnership, the two institutions will share their research and scientific expertise, explore cooperation in areas of mutual interest, and exchange students and staff to build a knowledgeable workforce to drive agricultural development.
“Our efforts will be centred around a host of activities designed to ensure that we successfully adapt our strategy to ensure that we include all stakeholders,” said Magingxa.
The memorandum of understanding will allow the two institutions to cooperate in mobilising resources for outreach programs and research in areas of mutual interest. In addition, the co-supervision of postgraduate students and staff exchange will be explored to build a knowledgeable workforce to drive agricultural development.
Magingxa explains that the partnership will also help communities in the SADC region and neighbouring countries to mobilise resources and share expertise to bring hope to those who look to academic and research organisations for meaningful actions and impact on the ground.
The agricultural sector plays a crucial role in the economy of many African countries, including the SADC region. By working together, the ARC and Luanar will be able to pool resources and expertise to tackle the challenges facing the sector, including food insecurity, climate change, and poverty alleviation.
Agricultural research continues to play a vital role in the SADC region, where farming is the main source of income for a majority of people. With the negative impact of climate change affecting food systems and livelihoods, it is crucial to have research institutions that can provide innovative solutions to the region’s agricultural challenges.
Agricultural research can help to increase crop yields, develop new technologies and practices, and enhance the resilience of farming communities to climate change, experts believe.