DeSIRA UOM : Enhancing climate resilience in agriculture for improved food and nutrition security through research, innovation and training in the Republic of Mauritius

Project identifier 227-DESIRA UOM
Project Status ongoing
Start date 2020-01-01
End date 2022-12-31
Roadmap Theme
  • Sustainable intensification: Animal and crop health
  • Sustainable intensification: Soil, water, land and input management
  • Agriculture and food systems for nutrition: Improved food value chains
  • Type of Project Institutional capacity building project
    Programme DeSIRA
    Keyword academic curriculum development; animal disease surveillance; water management
    Location Mauritius
    Budget 581 000
    Main Funder Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO)
    Co Funder University of Mauritius
    Coordinator University of Mauritius
    Documents Project description

    Description

    Objectives of the project

    The overall objective of the action is to strengthen the capacity of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Mauritius in research and training to promote sustainable agriculture for improved food security in response to climate change. The specific objectives are : 1) to use molecular methods for pest and disease characterisation; 2) to develop a package of climate-smart agriculture technologies for agriculture; 3) to develop the competences for innovative transformation of raw materials from the agricultural sectors into high-value products; 4) to increase the marketed supply of quality and wholesome milk from smallholder dairy farmers for the local market and as input for the local agroindustry; and 5) to empower the human capital in Rodrigues through agricultural education for improved resilience to climate change

    Background

    Climate smart agriculture is among the priority adaptation actions of the country's Nationally Determined Contributions. Mauritius - as a small island state - ranks among the 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change. High precipitation and temperature rise represent considerable challenges to the agricultural sector. Consequently, there is an urgent need to build climate resilience in that sector as a means to increase food security, and research has a pivotal role to play in that demarche. The action supports the vision ‘to promote the University of Mauritius as a research-engaged and entrepreneurial University’. Investment in research and training for innovative sustainable agribusinesses is key to achieving improved food security. The Faculty of Agriculture identified five areas of intervention (see the objective) for this action which will support innovative research to promote sustainable agriculture amidst changing climate. The identified areas are aligned with government policy spelt out in the ‘Strategic Plan 2016-2020 for the Food crop, Livestock and Forestry Sectors’ of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security to promote sustainable agriculture, improve food security and contribute to poverty alleviation. It is interesting to note that the University of Mauritius is already implementing a project under the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus programme working on onions and garlic production and the involvement and impact that it has on the beneficiaries is noteworthy. The University therefore already has an experience in the domain and the project will allow for additionality.

    Main activities

    The activities of the project consist of

    (i) Acquisition of equipment is foreseen to (a) upgrade the research facilities in biotechnology for molecular pest and disease diagnosis, for identification of pest and pathogens; (b) create conceptual models through sensors; (c) set up small scale aquaponics systems; (d) refurbishment of existing organic plot for research work; and (e) purchase laboratory equipment required for teaching, research and developing and processing, quality control and preservation of food products;

    (ii) Training of students on molecular techniques to diagnose pests and diseases;

    Experiments and provision of expertise to producers to (a) develop CSA technologies for selected leguminous crops under organic, sheltered and conventional farming systems; (b) develop efficient water use technologies for small-scale farmers, by testing different irrigation regimes and methods for sustainable agricultural water management. It is known that research is of no use if not made available to end-users. This is why a key focus of the project is on dissemination of research findings to relevant stakeholders through

    • The creation of an e-agriculture platform within the scope of this project and the use of Web2.0 tools will enhance the visibility and contribute to dissemination of the action.
    • Social media will be an essential tool to share information generated from the action.
    • Training workshops, inherent in the project design to achieve project outcomes, will target stakeholders. Media (TV, newspaper and radio) coverage of these activities will contribute to project dissemination.
    • Pamphlets produced as part of some of the activities will be an effective way to disseminate information to stakeholders and target audience.