$5.7 million to fight global hunger awarded by MSU-based Fish Innovation Lab

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By Milthon Lujan

Starkville, USA – The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish at Mississippi State University is awarding $5.7 million in grants to develop innovative approaches for helping solve hunger affecting more than 800 million people worldwide.

As part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future program and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Fish Innovation Lab works to reduce poverty and improve nutrition, food security and livelihoods in developing countries by supporting research on sustainable aquaculture and fisheries systems.

“Rich in protein and nutrients, fish are among the most traded agricultural commodities in the world. Improving how fish are produced, caught, prepared, distributed and sold can enhance nutrition and livelihoods among small-scale producers and low-income households in many developing countries,” said Mark Lawrence, director of the Fish Innovation Lab and professor in MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Through the $5.7 million, the Fish Innovation Lab is supporting 12 research-for-development projects focused on aquaculture and fisheries activities along the fish value chain in Bangladesh (3), Cambodia (2), Kenya (1), Nigeria (5) and Zambia (1).

Addressing challenges unique to each location, project teams will be working to increase fish production, mitigate risk of disease and fish loss, and improve human outcomes in targeted regions of the developing countries with high need. All projects also will incorporate the Fish Innovation Lab’s cross-cutting themes—human capacity development, gender equity and youth inclusion, nutrition and resilience. The projects were selected through a competitive process that garnered 247 proposals. Each project is led by a U.S. and a host country principal investigator and supported by a team of researchers at U.S. and host country institutions, fostering shared learning and collaborative strategies throughout the lab.

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“The Fish Innovation Lab is a platform for innovation, connecting a consortium of public and private organizations, government agencies, universities and aquaculture associations to address promising advances and emerging challenges in aquaculture and fisheries,” Lawrence said.

Mississippi State is the lead research institution for two of the projects in addition to overseeing and supporting the full research portfolio as the management entity of the Fish Innovation Lab.

Mississippi State is a top-ranking university for agriculture and natural resources research and development, generating more than $100 million in expenditures annually. The university is recognized as a Center for Knowledge for Aquatic Health by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. MSU’s Global Center for Aquatic Food Security addresses challenges facing aquaculture and finds solutions to meeting the world’s food security needs while ensuring a safe supply of fish.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum is a former Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture who has made food security a central focus of his professional life. Currently, he serves as chairman of both the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and the Board of International Food and Agricultural Development.

For more information about the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish, visit or contact the lab at 

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at


USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency for international development and humanitarian efforts to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance and help people progress beyond assistance.

About Feed the Future

Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition. For more information, visit

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About the Fish Innovation Lab

Funded by USAID, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish aims to reduce poverty and improve nutrition, food security, and livelihoods in developing countries by supporting the sustainable development of aquaculture and fisheries.

This news release was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Feed the Future initiative. The contents are the responsibility of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Source: Mississippi State University

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