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International Development Research @ Cambridge

 

Please consider writing a blog on your research and the effect that the cuts will have and publish it below and/or at the Reverse ODA Cuts website. An example is shared below and we (coordinator@gci.cam.ac.uk) are happy to support you with editing.

 

Sustainable protein for food security: inland farming of bivalve meat in Uganda
Dr David Aldridge

  • Working where: UK and Uganda.
  • Summary: In Uganda, undernutrition is responsible for 40% of deaths of children under five and costs 5.6% of GDP annually. Sustainable diets are primarily plant-based, yet many nutrients vital to human health are far less available in plant crops than in meat. Bivalve (mussels, oysters, clams) aquaculture represents a key opportunity for sustainable, nutrient-rich diets. Bivalve farming also has a smaller environmental footprint than most other foods. Despite the nutritional and sustainability benefits of bivalve aquaculture, there are a number of barriers to market growth. In Africa, production and consumption is generally limited to coastal regions and the tendency of bivalves to accumulate contaminants drives low consumer trust. Being a land-locked country, marine bivalves have an especially small market in Uganda. This project would have used novel technology to farm marine bivalves in inland settings in a sustainable way, providing meat of high nutritional quality that is guaranteed to be safe to eat. We would grow bivalve food (algae) on food waste, then dry and process it into microcapsules that are attractive to the bivalves. This dry powder would be contaminant-free and have a long shelf-life, making it ideal for use from small scale systems to large commercial operations. By adding artificial sea salts to freshwater, we would farm fast-growing marine mussels and oysters in Uganda. We would work with local communities and women farmer groups to assess opportunities and challenges.
  • Successes: We have already manufactured at commercial scale microencapsulated diets for European mussel hatcheries and our results have been remarkable, offering the possibility for complete replacement of live algal cultures with our dependable, cheap products.
  • What the ODA losses mean: Collaboration between industry and academia in the UK and Uganda would have helped to develop capacity, and support a growth in aquaculture-based farming in Uganda. ODA losses constrain translation of UK innovation into real-life application and destroy a realistic opportunity for facilitating the development and expansion of novel community-managed aquaculture systems across Africa, benefitting livelihoods, reducing poverty, promoting gender equality and providing nutritional security to the poor in rural and urban settings.

Welcome to Cambridge Global Challenges

Cambridge Global Challenges is the Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with a particular focus on the poorest half of the world’s population.

 

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Research Strategy Manager (Dr Sara Serradas Duarte): coordinator@gci.cam.ac.uk​.