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K-State Today

October 7, 2020

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Sustainable Intensification extends research projects

Submitted by Layne Wilson

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification, or SIIL, has received continuation of its funding support for subawards, United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, Mission buy-ins and associate awards. These activities are targeted to develop innovations in collaboration with scholars, practitioners, the private sector and host country partners.

The SIIL was established in 2014 at Kansas State University by USAID to discover and develop innovations that will support smallholder farmers across the globe in becoming food and nutritionally secure.

During its first five years, 2014-2019, the SIIL supported research, education and outreach activities in three regions, representing seven focus countries: Burkina Faso and Senegal in West Africa; Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania in East Africa; and Bangladesh and Cambodia in South Asia. In each of these countries, the SIIL worked toward common themes of using systems approaches for increasing overall production, enhancing the resilience of cropping systems and supporting nutritional outcomes.

"The SIIL will utilize what we have learned in our research thus far to determine innovations that will enhance resilience and improve the livelihoods of people," said Vara Prasad, K-State university distinguished professor and director of the SIIL. "The supported projects will help us continue our efforts through innovations in sustainable intensification practices that enhance access to safe and nutritious food, protects our natural resources and build capacity of host country scholars and institutions."

The SIIL will support research and capacity building activities of the following projects for the next three years, 2020-2023:

  • Led by Krishna Jagadish and Sudhir Yadav, "Pathways of Scaling Agricultural Innovations for Sustainable Intensification in the Polders of Coastal Bangladesh," K-State and International Rice Research Institute.
  • Led by Doohong Min and Aliou Faye, "Improving Food and Nutrition Security of Smallholder Agro-pastoral Farming Systems by Integrating Crop-livestock-human Nutrition in Senegal and Niger," K-State and Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Research. 
  • Led by Dave Ader, "S3-Cambodia: Scaling Suitable Sustainable Technologies," University of Tennessee. 
  • Led by Prasanta Kalita, "Appropriate Scale Mechanization Consortium for Sustainable Intensification," University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. 
  • Led by Ignacio Ciampitti, "Digital and Geospatial Tools Consortium — Building a New Era of Predictive Agricultural Innovation to Improve the Livelihood of Smallholder Farmers," K-State. 
  • Led by Carl Pray, "Policy Research Consortium," Rutgers University.

The SIIL also will collaborate with USAID in supporting a new initiative i (innovation) Research, Extension and Advisory Coordination Hub, or iREACH, with the West and Central Africa Council of Agricultural Research and Development led by Abdou Tenkouano.

Along with these, the SIIL will continue to support the Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition, or CE SAIN, housed at the Royal University of Agriculture in Cambodia. CE SAIN was established by the SIIL in 2016 with the goal of serving as an entity that fosters private-sector innovation, agricultural research, education and training, and public sector capacity building through improved collaboration and knowledge sharing that is focused on improving food and nutritional security while enhancing quality of soil, water and biodiversity.

The SIIL will continue to collaborate with the International Fertilizer Development Center's SOILS — Sustainable Opportunities to Improve Livelihoods with Soils — Consortium funded by USAID. The primary goal of this is improving soil fertility in the most vulnerable regions of sub-Saharan Africa.

"We're pleased that SIIL is funding these projects and that three of these subawards are here at K-State," said Ernie Minton, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension. "The research produced by SIIL really showcases K-State's leadership in global food systems."

"Continuation of these projects builds on their past successes and provides opportunities for new scholars and organizations to contribute to the goals of the SIIL," said Nina Lilja, associate dean of international agricultural programs. "Building host country capacity is key toward the journey for their self-reliance, which is a key goal of the Feed the Future program of USAID."

These extended awards give the SIIL an opportunity for growth in various areas to have a positive impact on smallholder farmers in countries across the globe. The SIIL takes a holistic and systems approach to addressing the problems of global hunger, poverty and nutrition, and continues to work toward creating enabling conditions for the adoption of innovations that focus on the livelihoods and well-being of people in the target countries and beyond.

To learn more, visit the SIIL website and follow the lab on Twitter: @SIIL_KSU, Facebook: /SIILKSU and Instagram: @SIIL_KSU