Gates Foundation Awards $7 Million to Help Boost Yields, Improve Food Security for African Farmers

The has announced a grant of nearly $7 million from the to implement the second phase of the Commercial Products project (COMPRO-II).

The project seeks to institutionalize quality-assurance mechanisms and enable the rapid dissemination of top quality commercial products to increase yields and improve the food security of some two million smallholder famers in sub-Saharan Africa. Of those households, 420,000 will have tested at least one effective commercial product and at least 50 percent of those will have adopted the technology and achieved a 15 percent to 30 percent increase in yield, resulting in a substantial impact on their food security and income.

In the past decade, sub-Saharan Africa has seen economic growth amid population increases and rising deamnd for food. As a result, investments in soil fertility to boost agricultural productivity have become critical. During the second phase of the project, IITA will lead an effort to transfer technologies that were successfully established in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Nigeria during COMPRO-I into Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda; institutionalize regulatory and quality control processes; disseminate effective products through public-private partnerships; develop communication tools; and strengthen human capacity.

To that end, IITA will partner with the , the , , the of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture, and the , as well as universities, national research organizations, extension organizations, and quality-control entities in the various target countries.

"The key expected outcome of the project is the institutionalization of screening and approval of commercial products," said Prem Warrior, senior program officer with the Gates Foundation.

"." International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Press Release 04/30/2012.