News & Views
Food Projects in Africa to Tackle Rising Diabetes
Jan 26 2020
Researchers at Aberystwyth University have been awarded funding to develop crops which can help stem Africa’s growing diabetes problem. The number of type 2 diabetes sufferers in Africa is estimated by the World Health Organisation to be over 25 million today, a figure projected to reach 41 million by 2045.
Innovate UK has co-funded a £500k project led by scientists at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) to develop a diabetes friendly food source which can thrive in Sub-Saharan Africa. The UK team will work in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and AINOMA Seed Farm in Niger, West Africa.
The project will seek to maximise resilience of pearl millet crops with a low glycaemic index for farming in the region where the crop is traditionally used for making porridge, kedgeree and flat breads like chapattis and increasingly used for making bread, biscuits and breakfast cereals.
Led by Dr Rattan Yadav, the Aberystwyth team has already established a strong reputation in this field, having just completed a similar project in India. “Type 2 diabetes is a massive and growing problem across Sub-Saharan Africa. So our objective now is to develop varieties and hybrids of pearl millet which will thrive in local conditions and help reduce the growth and effects of this disease,” Dr Rattan said.
Support for the project is being provided by Department for International Development (DFID) and Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) through Innovate UK.
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