Food security is a multifaceted concept encompassing the dimensions of food availability, access, and utilization. It revolves around the assurance that individuals and communities have both the physical and economic means to obtain enough, safe, and nutritious food, meeting their dietary requirements and preferences for an active and healthy life. Addressing food security is particularly important in regions prone to conflict, as it plays a pivotal role in alleviating the consequences of military confrontation. A poignant example is the recent conflict in Sudan, which has lead to large-scale displacement of populations, disrupting agricultural activities and food systems. As people flee their homes and farmlands, they often lose their sources of income and access to food, intensifying food insecurity among both the displaced and host communities.
Maintaining food security by innovative agricultural practices
Sustainable and innovative agricultural practices are crucial for maintaining food security, especially in conflict-affected areas. Sudan recently witnessed violent clashes that significantly affected the food security of local communities. As the Sudanese population has a predominantly sorghum-based diet, the project partners suggest supporting the cultivation of biofortified sorghum and millet in the agricultural and politically stable Al-Qadarif region in East Sudan.
The conflict has lead to a large-scale displacement of populations, disrupting agricultural activities and food systems. As people flee their homes and farmlands, they often lose their sources of income and food access, exacerbating food insecurity among both displaced and host communities.
AGYA member Tilal Abdelhalim
Campaigning for nutritionally rich stable crops
The goal of this project is to employ a multi-sectoral approach to decrease food insecurity and malnutrition by increasing the quantity and quality of accessible food. Simultaneously, the project advocates for the cultivation and consumption of diverse and nutritionally rich staple crops among farmers, producers, and customers. To this end, the project strategically utilizes multi-stakeholder communication platforms to facilitate farmers’ access to quality seeds, employing various activities such as demonstration plots, field days, training on improved seed production and marketing. In alignment with these efforts, the project partners foster continuous interactions among stakeholders within the seed value chain. These collaborations allow for timely responses to emerging demands and lessons learned, aiming to ensure the scaling readiness of the improved biofortified sorghum and millet varieties and maximizing well-being by overcoming acute malnutrition, particularly in regions susceptible to both climate shocks and conflict.
The platform activities will be deployed to address three main challenges: Firstly, the initiative aims to address the issue of inadequate supply and access to biofortified crop seeds. Secondly, it seeks to combat poor awareness and limited adoption of improved sorghum and millet varieties. Lastly, the project aims to overcome obstacles related to poor marketing linkages and poor networking.
The project builds up on the success of a previous AGYA project in the field of biodiversity and food security in Sudan, which involved a genome-wide association study, screening 200 weedy and wild Sudanese sorghum accessions for their grain phytic acid, micronutrients, and protein contents. The insights gained in this study made an important contribution to the enhancement of biofortified sorghum. By leveraging these previous findings, the project partners now aim to further advance the development and implementation of biofortified sorghum varieties, committed to improving both agricultural sustainability and nutritional outcomes.
- Disciplines Involved
- Agricultural Studies, Ethnology
- Cooperation Partner
- Agricultural Research Corporation (ARC), El-Qaradeif Office
- Project Title
- Enhancing Food Security in Times of Crisis: Increasing the Use of Biofortified Sorghum Seeds and Millet Varieties
- 2023 - 2024
- Funding Scheme
- Tandem Project
- Countries Involved
- Sudan, Germany
Fighting Malnutrition in Sudan: Biofortification of Sorghum
Listen to Tilal Abdelhalim and learn more about biofortified varieties of sorghum crops.