SLU news

Research exhange to promote policy instruments for improved food production

Published: 23 March 2018
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The plant physiologist Dr. Celestin Ukozehasi is currently visiting Sweden and the AgriFoSe2030 programme. Within the programme he is working on policy instruments that promote multifunctional agriculture for diversified, increased, safe and nutritious food.

Dr. Celestin Ukozehasi, a plant physiologist, has impressively climbed the academic ladder in the University of Rwanda. He has a PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK, that he finalised in 2015 and started of straight away as a lecturer in plant science at his home university. He then worked as a coordinator of the MSc programme in crop science, and up until now he has been the Deputy Dean to the school of Agriculture and Food Science. But he also has an active interest in public policy. AgriFoSe2030 interviewed him to find out more about him and his contribution to the programme. 

Celestins engagements in public policy got him an appointment to be a member of the Board of Directors of Rwanda Agriculture Board; and also to AgriFose2030 with a specific focus on translating science into policy and practice. Driven by this interest in policy-making, he chose to work on the topic Multifunctional agriculture to food security in Rwanda: a stocktaking of successful policies and interventions.

What will you be/have you been doing during your visit in Sweden and in the AgriFoSe2030 programme?

- In the context of AgriFoSe2030, my research exchange belongs to theme 2: Multifunctional landscape for food security, and I am working under the supervision of Professor Eva Johansson at SLU in Alnarp. Here, my work aims to address the operational and policy approaches for multifunctional agriculture to food security. Specifically, I am looking into the knowledge necessary for advisory, design, planning and management of the farm and the landscape; and the policy instruments that promote multifunctional agriculture for diversified, increased, safe and nutritious food; as well as other services.

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Dr. Celestin Ukozehasi working in the greenhouse with a crop experiment.

 

What are your expectations of what the AgriFoSe2030 programme? 

-AgriFoSe2030 is unique in offering the opportunity for translation of science into policy and practice to address food security. This is what makes the programme important and what I am working on. I am reviewing the agricultural policies and interventions that have been implemented in Rwanda, subsequent to a wide literature review on multifunctional agriculture, landscape and food security. The idea is to identify and synthesise successful agricultural strategies in Rwanda for the possibility of scaling-up. We want these strategies to be informed by the multifunctional agriculture approach towards food security in a changing climate and aligned with consumers’ preferences.

Tell us one thing that you are passionate about related to food security and sustainable agriculture!

- One of the main challenges to food security is the ongoing decline of available arable land due to population growth, and increases in the competing uses of land, while we at the same time need to ensure agriculture stays to be the source of food and services to humankind and other animals. Thus, I see a food security opportunity in the multifunctional agriculture approach. However, it is an intensive practice that can also generate externalities. Therefore, the approach requires evidence-based and effective knowledge to underpin regulations.

– As an agriculturalist, I am particularly passionate to contribute to knowledge development and dissemination that address food security, and as a university teacher, I see my role in building the critical mass needed to address these agricultural challenges ahead.

Interview by Anneli Sundin, AgriFoSe2030 Communication and Engagement.

Facts:

About AgriFoSe2030

The AgriFoSe2030 programme contributes to sustainable intensification of agriculture for increased food production on existing agricultural land; the aim is to do so by transforming practices toward more efficient use of human, financial and natural resources.

Theme 2 - Multifunctional landscapes for increased food security

Theme 2 in the AgriFoSe2030 programme is interdisciplinary and covers all cross-cutting issues of the programme; sustainable intensification of agriculture, the central role of women and young people in agriculture, and access to markets and value chains.

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