GlobE – Research for the global food supply

Securing the global food supply is a central aim of the National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030. The BMBF launched the funding initiative "Securing the Global Food Supply" to support the global development of sustainable, high-output agriculture.

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The world's population is now over seven billion. Rapid population growth means that securing global food supply has become one of the greatest global challenges of humankind.

To meet this challenge, agricultural production needs to be increased, but this process is limited by the scarcity of arable land and by advancing soil degradation. The effects of climate change, including lengthy droughts, floods, and the spread of pests, will have an impact on the agricultural economy. To ensure global food security, we must support the affected regions of the world to establish efficient and sustainable agriculture economies. This is of particular importance for the developing countries of the African continent, where a large part of cultivation is carried out by small-scale farmers. The influence of such factors means that often times, not enough can be produced to establish a self-sufficient, sustainable agricultural economy. That is why measures to stabilize and develop the food supply are especially important in these regions. The aim is to support the development of sustainable agriculture in African countries in order to secure a stable food supply for the local population.

In the past, funding programmes tended to focus too strongly on specific disciplines or research approaches, without sufficient local involvement. This significantly lowered the effectiveness of research activities. The new BMBF funding initiative “Securing the Global Food Supply – GlobE” will therefore take a systemic and interdisciplinary approach - a situation analysis will be carried out, a research question formulated and then solved in cooperation with local partners. The funding initiative will include research projects that are tailored to local circumstances and which the regional partners in Africa consider to be necessary and sustainable. The initiative is open to all technologies and will support both existing networks and the establishment of new partnerships.

German institutions applied for BMBF project funding together with African partners. The existing instruments of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development will continue to be available on a supplementary basis for the international agricultural research centres within the CGIAR. In this way, new and existing Federal Government activities in the area of global food supply are being linked in an optimal way and made more transparent and efficient for German and international partners alike. The initiative GlobE is devided into two funding phases. During the first half of 2012, in the first phase, the preparation of 15 research concepts was funded. Of these, six were selected for the second funding phase, which began in april 2013. In this second phase, six research cooperations are being financed for a duration of between three and five years. For the maximum duration of funding of up to five years the BMBF invests up to 45 Mio. EUR including a financial contribution from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.