The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has announced a partnership with the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University to promote agricultural research, practice, and education in Africa.
The partnership will support efforts at the Ukulima Farm Research Center in Limpopo Province, South Africa, to develop technology and practices designed to boost African agricultural production, enhance rural livelihoods, and conserve natural resources. To be directed by James P. Muir, a professor of soil and crop sciences at Texas A&M, and operated by the South African Nature Conservation Trust, the center will work with the Borlaug Institute to develop a long-term strategy in cooperation with scientists from African universities and research centers in the region.
The center also will work to promote extension projects ranging from short-term technical training to leadership seminars on topics such as seed technology and water management. Other partners in the initiative include the International Center for Wheat and Maize Improvement, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Missouri, and Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization.
"Our goal was to create a real-world field space at a sufficient scale where scientists and farmers can work together to fight hunger in Africa," said Howard G. Buffett. "I have traveled extensively across Africa and have seen the degraded soils, the lack of access to quality inputs, the inefficient market systems, and the underdeveloped agricultural support systems that contribute to keeping two hundred and thirty-nine million Africans hungry. Ukulima Farm and this collaboration is a direct response to these needs. It is my hope this collaboration will improve agricultural productivity across the African continent, particularly for Africa's poorest farmers."