Experts assemble in Leeds to discuss African food security

Food security will take centre stage at the University of Leeds this week at the first Africa College International Conference.

Experts will gather from around the world to share lessons on how research can have a real impact on food security, nutrition and human health in sub-Saharan Africa.  

Speakers at the conference, which takes place between 22 to 24 June, include Professor Bob Watson from Defra, Dr Akin Adesina, vice president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and Professor Tim Lang from City University, London.  

In addition Professor Monty Jones, Executive Secretary of the Forum for Agriculture Research Africa and World Food Prize Laureate, will give the Behrens Lecture in the University's Great Hall on 23 June.  

Professor Jones said: "Tackling global food security is one of the world's greatest challenges for all countries, but especially for those in sub-Saharan Africa. Science can and must help deliver solutions to help rid the world of hunger and poverty. But we need to do better at using scientific knowledge to this and to improve the lives of millions of people.  

"British research organisations, including the University of Leeds, have much knowledge to offer to help achieve these impacts, especially where they work in partnership with African and international research and development organisations. The Africa College is one such partnership.  

"This week the College is bringing together over 180 experts from academia, the private sector and not-for-profit organisations from around the world to focus on how we can increase the impact of research on food security and human health. I would therefore like to congratulate the University of Leeds, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture and the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology for setting up the College and organising this important meeting."  

Africa College Executive Director David Howlett said: "A billion people around the world are going hungry with another billion suffering from the hidden hunger of malnutrition. Achieving a food secure world in the face of climate change and a population expected to hit 9 billion by 2050 is one of the biggest challenges we face as a society.  

"Africa College aims to be part of the solution. We hope that at this week's conference we can make real progress towards translating the impact of our research on improving policies, developing better technologies, and benefiting peoples' lives."  

Africa College was set-up in 2008 with support from the University's Transformation Fund, The College is a partnership between the University of Leeds, African and international research organisations It is working to translate research results from biological, health, nutritional, ecological, climate and social sciences into impact on food security, nutrition and health in sub-Saharan Africa.

The conference will be held in Devonshire Hall. For more information, visit the Africa College website. 

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