This is one of five vignettes showcasing faculty research related to redesigning 21st century agri-food systems.
A research professor in the Department of Global Development, Edward Mabaya studies food security, development and agribusiness value chains, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 140 million people in Africa already face acute food insecurity, a critical problem for the continent with the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population.
Mabaya works at the intersection of science, economics, policy and farmer outreach: Through projects like the African Seed Access Index, he identifies “choke points” in each country that are preventing new seeds or technologies from reaching the smallholder farmers who need them most.
Though the challenges are great, so are the opportunities, he said: Africa’s growing population means more mouths to feed, but also more hands to do the work. Its youth means more adaptability to embrace the kinds of revolutionary technologies that could enable a quantum leap forward to reimagine just, sustainable food systems.
“I believe in the power of technologies in transforming agriculture and rural development,” Mabaya said. “I really believe that beyond the ability of agriculture and food systems to feed and nourish us, they are also the pathway to development, prosperity and peace.”
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