Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, November 13, 2020

Sustainable agriculture and inclusive food systems: How can DeSIRA make a difference?

13 November 2020
Capacity4Development. Research and innovation are key to addressing the transition to sustainable agriculture and inclusive food systems. Since September 2020, the EU-funded DeSIRA (Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture) initiative supports 47 projects in low and middle-incomes countries. With programmes in Asia, Africa and Latin America, DeSIRA addresses food security, and aims to preserve the nature that we all depend on.

Food systems are an issue of fundamental importance in achieving the Paris Agreement and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is also a highly complex and challenging domain, which includes a vast ensemble of interrelated issues ranging from climate change and biodiversity, to employment and health. Focusing on research and innovation in this field is not new. What is new, is how DeSIRA is doing it.

DeSIRA was launched on 8th September 2020 with a budget of around EUR 270 million

Below are some of the key frameworks of this major EU initiative.

The importance of systemic and contextualised knowledge
Research supported by the DeSIRA initiative has to contribute to the transition of agriculture and food systems by generating scientific knowledge, supporting innovation, and strengthening capacities.

Interdisciplinarity and science for development
DeSIRA’s methodology calls for more interdisciplinary research, and the development of systemic approaches to address intricate and interconnected issues. It calls for scientific results, which can be applied to policy-making.

DeSIRA is supporting innovation through a multi-stakeholder approach, which mixes scientific and local knowledge to produce contextualised information and data. Proposed solutions are then created, tested and assessed with contributions from all parties involved. Technical and social dimensions are taken into account. Consequently, both farmers and farmers’ organisations play a crucial role in orientating and assessing research but also in creating, adapting and scaling innovations.

Collaboration and capacity strengthening
The DeSIRA initiative aims to strengthen the capacities of national research organisations and individuals and to reinforce national, regional, continental and global research organisations and networks to better coordinate agendas. The initiative strives to create synergies to articulate research with public policies. The objective is to foster the Agricultural Innovation Systems and to improve national innovation policies to address the agriculture and food systems transition with climate-relevant solutions.

Projects supported by DeSIRA

These are three of the initiatives supported by DeSIRA.

The BIOSTAR project in West Africa aims to create sustainable bio-energies for small agro-food companies.

The regional project Clima-LoCa covers Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. It contributes to the sustainable development of the cocoa sector.

In Asia, Artemia4Bangladesh is a project introducing circularity through climate-smart aquaculture in Bangladesh.

Find out more about all the other 44 projects supported by DeSIRA here:

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