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Irish project to create ‘edible urban green infrastructure’ launches in Mozambique

Irish project to create ‘edible urban green infrastructure’ launches in Mozambique

Co-created project funded by the Irish Research Council, in partnership with Irish Aid, to support food security and climate resilience in rapidly growing cities.

18 January 2023

The Irish Ambassador in Maputo, Mozambique today launched an Irish Research Council funded project, in partnership with Irish Aid, under the Collaborative Alliances for Societal Challenges programme. 

SYNERGI: Mozambique aims to investigate co-created, socially inclusive ‘edible Urban Green Infrastructure’ (UGI) as a strategy to support food security and climate resilience in two rapidly growing cities in Mozambique

The project was devised as low income and vulnerable households, social groups, and communities living in rapidly growing cities across Africa face concurrent challenges of maintaining food security whilst coping with the impacts of climate change.

Launching the project, Irish Ambassador Patrick Empey said: “I welcome this new partnership between UCD and the UEM in Mozambique, supported under the IRC-COALESCE initiative. The SYNERGI project (Socially Inclusive Edible Urban Green Infrastructure) aims to strengthen educational institutional links and promote urban food production. 

"Sustainable Food Systems, centred on women and young people, are key to building community resilience to climate change and opportunities for improved family nutrition in the most vulnerable communities.”

Project lead from UCD School of Geography, Dr Christine Bonnin said: “Diverse urban agriculture can help cities address the twin challenges of food security and climate change by providing a sustainable food supply, enabling cultural support of resilience and change, as well as offering various ecosystem services. 

“Social inequality is also an issue when it comes to access to quality food, so with SYNERGI we hope to investigate not only diverse, multifunctional systems for food provisioning with environmental sustainability and climate-adaptive dimensions, but also ones that enable inclusive participation and outcomes.”

The project is partnered with local civil society organisations to understand the necessary conditions to promote edible UGI in vulnerable urban communities, and how it can be designed and used to better meet the needs of these groups.

The researchers will use nature-based solutions and sustainable design to co-create and pilot low-cost edible UGI innovations with vulnerable communities. Examples of such innovations are anticipated to include community gardens – containing fast-maturing food trees such as Moringa, fruit and nut trees, and nutritionally dense crops like orange-fleshed sweet potato –  vertical greening garden structures, urban beekeeping, and directly linked supports such as organic waste-to-compost, rainwater capture systems and natural canopy (which provides temperature regulation, particulate pollution filtration, carbon dioxide sequestration, stormwater attenuation and biodiversity enhancement).

Project co-lead from Mozambique’s Eduardo Mondlane University, Professor Ines Raimundo said: “In addition to the ambitions of our research, SYNERGI is an initiative that will also serve to strengthen the research environment between UCD and Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM), and between Ireland and Mozambique. 

It will help enhance the overall capacity of UEM's departments for research and academic outputs. Furthermore, through the project, local universities, including our collaborators, Lurio University, will deepen their partnership with UEM as well, which is a welcome added benefit of our collaboration."


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