Knowledge for better food systems

Workshop report and call for proposals on sustainable intensification of agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa

The Sustainable Intensification Network (SIRN) has published a report based on a workshop they co-organised in Kenya in March 2017. The purpose of the workshop was to help inform potential future funding opportunities from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) for collaborative research between UK and African scientists, with the objectives of:

  • identifying research challenges, and associated scientific and partnering opportunities, relevant to the sustainable intensification of agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa
  • contributing to relevant partnership-building between research organisations in the UK and countries in sub-Saharan Africa


The workshop comprised a one-day field trip and two days of discussions. During the workshop, eight broad challenges were identified as priority research areas:

1. Integrated landscape management to deliver ecosystem services
2. Improving soil health, nutrient management and nutrient use-efficiency
3. Improving water management and water use-efficiency at multiple scales
4. Managing pests and diseases in the context of climate change
5. Plant breeding for multiple traits, focussed on the needs of end users
6. Livestock breeding for multiple traits, focussed on the needs of end users
7. Exploitation of indigenous and ‘orphan’ crops and farmed animals
8. Using mobile phones on farm for agricultural development

Funding available

The UK research council BBSRC has secured funding for a research programme which will include some of the challenges highlighted in the report. They are currently working on the development of the call for proposals. The call is expected to open in early autumn. Proposals must be led by a UK PI, but partnerships with eligible Co-Investigators based in SSA will be strongly encouraged. Further information about the call will be made available in a pre-announcement at the end of July.

You can find the report here. Some of the presentations given are also available on the website. 

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