Australia invests in insect research center

A world-renowned insect research center in Kenya will receive continued annual funding from the Australian Government following a new agreement signed today in Brisbane.

The Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) will provide annual core funding contributions of AU$500,000 to the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) as part of efforts to explore how insects can contribute to sustainable agri-food systems and recognize that entomological capacity is vital for biosecurity.

Signed today at the TropAg conference, the agreement builds on a long-standing partnership between ACIAR and icipe that has enabled food insect research to improve the means of subsistence of Africans and to germinate a new industry.

ACIAR CEO Prof Andrew Campbell said insects have great potential to help transform global food production, with icipe expected to play a leading role in unlocking the potential of the sector.

“Insects will become increasingly essential to how the world feeds itself in a sustainable way,” Professor Campbell said.

“ACIAR has been funding icipe at the project level since 2014, and we’ve seen firsthand how insects like the black soldier fly can help farmers turn food waste into high-protein and high-energy animal feed. fertilizer with minimal impact on the environment.

“Research has demonstrated that the use of insects for food, feed and other uses can truly be a transformative force in redesigning food systems to become more sustainable.”

“Icipe has established itself as a world leader in insect physiology and ecology research, and we are proud to reinforce our commitment to icipe by providing continued support reflecting Australia’s commitment to the development sustainable,” Professor Campbell added.

The Nairobi-based center becomes the sixth research organization to receive core funding from ACIAR, joining CGIAR, the Pacific Community (SPC); the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg); the International Center for Agricultural Biosciences (CABI); and the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutes (APAARI).

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icipe Director General Dr Segenet Kelemu (left) with ACIAR CEO Prof Andrew Campbell (right) after signing the new funding agreement in Brisbane.

The Australian Government, through ACIAR, provides ongoing funding to international agricultural research for development institutions to support the production and maintenance of global and regional public goods. This type of consistent investment underpins long-term strategic research initiatives while preserving organizational capacity and ongoing operations.

icipe’s Director General and CEO, Dr Segenet Kelemu, hailed ACIAR’s investment and commended the Australian government for its long-term commitment to improving food systems and strengthening linkages. between Australia and Africa.

“Icipe operates in partnership with over 60 universities and 300 partners, with a large number of initiatives across Africa and around the world that take a holistic approach to human, animal, plant and environmental health,” said the Dr Kelemu.

“We are an organization that can lead international efforts to adopt and maximize the potential of insect technology. ACIAR has a strong partner in icipe who will have a positive impact on the African continent and beyond.’

ACIAR joins a shortlist of organizations that provide core funding to icipe, including the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency; the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; and the Government of the Republic of Kenya.

“Significantly, core funds support the exploratory phases of new areas of research, helping to generate the evidence base needed to attract project investment,” Dr Kelemu added.

“The funds also serve as a bridge for researchers and projects between funding rounds. Indeed, without core funds, it would be difficult for research and development institutions to effectively undertake their core business.

ACIAR first invested in icipe in 2014 through a co-funding agreement with Canada’s International Development Research Center as part of a broader effort to develop and scale up sustainable, climate-resilient and gender-responsive innovations for small-scale producers.

ACIAR and icipe are currently partnering with AgriFutures Australia on a knowledge sharing initiative to accelerate insect farming as an emerging industry in Africa and Australia. AgriFutures Australia has identified insect farming in Australia as having strong potential to reach a value of A$10 million per year by 2025.

Learn more about the new Core Funding Agreement via the ACIAR website.

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