SLU news

Food from waters important for transforming food systems

Published: 16 November 2022
Photo: SLU Global

In connection to Shakuntala Thilsted's appointment as honorary doctor at SLU, a meeting and a workshop was held with WorldFish and researchers at SLU, active in aquatic research. The purpose was to explore joint interests and possibilities for future collaborations.

SLU is the academic partner in a collaborative WorldFish project in Sub-Saharan Africa. The project aims to increase the income and improve food security of 5,000 smallholder aquatic food producers as well as reduce waste and pollution in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia. To further explore potential for future research collaborations between World Fish and SLU, the opportunity was taken for a meeting and a two-day workshop during Dr. Thilsted’s visit in connection to her appointment as honorary doctor.

At the meeting Dr. Thilsted (WorldFish Global Lead for research on nutrition and public health) and Hampus Eriksson (WorldFish Lead, Solomon Islands) talked about WorldFish’s interests going forward:

– The vision and the mission of the new strategy of the CGIAR centres, to which WorldFish belong, are food, land and water systems in a climate crisis. This is the first time that water and water systems are included. With that, we at WorldFish have a very influential role to play, said Dr. Thilsted.

– When people talk about aquatic foods, they usually think about fish, and some very few fish species. To go from there to aquatic food systems is a very big hurdle. But at the same time, it is very exciting because the diversity of aquatic foods is so vast. Fish is only a small part of the diversity. Very few people talk about diversity because it is not related to income and the economic value that is generated.

– It is interesting that at the CGIAR, we have five impact areas, very much in line with the focal points mentioned in SLU’s global policy: Nutrition, health and security; Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs; Gender equity, youth and social inclusion; Climate adaptation and mitigation; and Environmental health and biodiversity. So, there is a very high alignment were we and SLU can work together. I look very much forward to our future collaborations, Dr. Thilsted concluded.

– At our centre we don’t have anyone focusing specifically on climate change in Africa and the Pacific. So, this is one area where we can come together with SLU. Feed development is another example. The goal is to build on something that SLU could lead, said Hampus Eriksson.

A round of short speeches by the SLU researchers followed, where they talked about their interests in relation to WorldFish and possibilities for the future. Upcoming research calls from EU was presented by SLU’s Grants Office. After that an open and lively discussion took place.

The workshop was organised by Charlotte Berkström at SLU Aqua and the meeting by SLU Aqua and SLU Global.