The World Bank recently awarded a four year grant to the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) in Malawi to establish an African Center of Excellence (ACE) in Aquaculture and Fisheries (the AquaFish Centre).
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Soybean Value Chain Research (Soybean Innovation Lab, SIL) will serve as the lead international research partner for the AquaFish Centre. LUANAR will collaborate with the Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) and its partners, the University of Illinois, and Mississippi State University on soybean meal processing, feed manufacturing, warm water aquaculture nutrition, and warm water aquaculture production.
“The Soybean Innovation Lab and its partners will work to make the LUANAR AquaFish Centre not just a center of academic excellence, but also an economic engine supporting the growth of the aquaculture industry in Southern and Eastern Africa”, said Dr. Peter Goldsmith, the Principal Investigator for the Soybean Innovation Lab.
The Innovation Lab is the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) only comprehensive program dedicated to soybean research for development. Their international team of tropical soybean experts provides direct technical support to practitioners tasked with soybean development. These practitioners include: private sector firms, non-governmental organizations, extensionists, agronomists, and the National Agricultural Research System (NARS).
The Soybean Innovation Lab and its partners will work directly with LUANAR on the AquaFish Centre development, providing technical support and guidance on infrastructure and equipment upgrades, on-site technical training, and programs to engage private sector companies and industry. The Innovation Lab will support LUANAR as it creates a high quality masters and doctoral program in aquaculture. The Innovation Lab and LUANAR will also work together to implement a seed grant program at the AquaFish Centre. The small research grant program will bring U.S. and Malawian researchers together with the intent to build an applied research program that will sustain the graduate program after the initial World Bank support concludes.
As an African Centre of Excellence, the AquaFish Centre will establish itself as an industry service center capable of supporting the growing aquaculture industry in the region. The Centre will develop a sustainable stream of industry partnerships and research contracts. These public-private partnerships will provide the AquaFish Centre with a key revenue source critical to ensuring the longevity and sustainability of the program.
The grant and collaboration is scheduled to begin later in 2016.