World researchers gather at U of S to explore food innovations

SASKATOON - Researchers from Canada and Africa will gather to explore innovations in crops, vaccines, nutritional supplements in African homes and farms during a two-day conference at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S).

Scaling-Up Innovations for Impact: Meeting the Food Security Challenge - A Canada-Africa Collaboration will take place Oct. 11 -12 beginning at 9 am both days, at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) on campus.

Five major projects in four areas will be featured: vaccines, pulses, underutilized vegetables, and micronutrients, all funded by the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF) through Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Global Affairs Canada. These include:

  • Development of a new vaccine to control contagious bovine pleuropneumonia by VIDO-InterVac, in partnership with scientists from Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization. The project targets this devastating cattle disease which threatens the food security in multiple African countries.
  • Development of a new vaccine to protect farm animals from five economically important viral diseases (lumpy skin disease, sheep pox, goat pox, peste des petits ruminants and Rift Valley fever). This project also targets development of an innovative vaccine for African swine fever, a devastating disease in pigs for which vaccines are currently unavailable. This project is led by the University of Alberta and is in partnership with VIDO-InterVac.
  • Application of nutrient stewardship via fertilizer microdosing to dramatically increase yields of indigenous vegetables to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers of West Africa. This project also will build markets for vegetables and valuable nutritional products that can be extracted from the produce.
  • Introduction of new pulse crop varieties such as chickpeas and beans, enhancing  old varieties though site-specific agronomic and soil management packages to improve yields, and developing and delivering nutritious pulse food products (snacks, porridge, flours) to provide vital sources of protein and other key nutrients as well as improved farm income coupled with nutrition education to reach at least 70,000 farm households.
  • Fortification of sunflower oil by small and medium-sized enterprises to provide essential nutrients such as vitamin A to combat malnutrition and boost food security in Tanzania.

A highlight of the conference will be the keynote address by Dominic Schofield, president of the newly formed Canadian office of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Launched by the United Nations in 2002 to tackle human suffering caused by malnutrition, GAIN aims to bring together universities and institutes across Canada under the shared goal of improving human health.

The event will also feature panels and discussion with African and Canadian researchers on the challenges of scaling up food security innovations in countries including Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa.



For more information or to arrange interviews contact:


Jennifer Thoma

Media Relations Specialist

University of Saskatchewan



Trenna Brusky

Marketing Co-ordinator


University of Saskatchewan


Share this story