AIRCA Elects Crops For the Future CEO as New Chair

15 February 2017 – The Association of International Research and Development Centers for Agriculture (AIRCA) announced that Prof. Sayed Azam-Ali has been elected as its new Chair for the 2017 – 2018 term. AIRCA is a nine-member alliance focussed on increasing global food security by supporting smallholder agriculture within healthy, sustainable and climate-smart landscapes.
Prof. Azam-Ali is currently the Chief Executive Officer at Crops For the Future (CFF), the world’s first centre dedicated to research on underutilised crops, and he also holds the role as Chair in Global Food Security at the University of Nottingham. He succeeds Dr. Segenet Kelemu, Director General of the Institute for Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe). 
Prof. Azam-Ali looks forward to this new role and working together with AIRCA partners who share common values on how agriculture can have a positive impact on the lives of people. He emphasises the importance of commitment and strong partnerships among AIRCA members in implementing action plans to address today’s problems, like feeding a growing population in a hotter world, saying “no institution working alone or in one place can meet this challenge but, together, we can make a meaningful contribution.”
One of the initiatives he will push is the Global Action Plan for Agricultural Diversification (GAPAD), saying “my task is to galvanise fellow AIRCA members and other partners to develop GAPAD activities.” In 2015, AIRCA members secured the signatures of world-leading scientists and research institutions to the Declaration on Agricultural Diversification during the United Nations climate meeting in France, including that of former Malaysian prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Prof. Azam-Ali says that this initiative in particular is important for the future, saying “the declaration recognises that, for our future, agriculture must provide greater food and nutritional security, minimise environmental harm, alleviate poverty and support the better use of land.” GAPAD is an initiative spearheaded by CFF to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda. 
Prof. Azam-Ali has a degree in Plant Biology from the University of Wales and a PhD in Environmental Physics from the University of Nottingham.  
About Crops For the Future
Crops For the Future (CFF) is the world’s first and only centre dedicated to research on underutilised crops for food and non-food uses. CFF research focusses on agricultural biodiversity to enhance agricultural systems and their sustainability, address changing climates, and improve food and nutritional security and economic well-being, especially of the poor. CFF is a company limited by guarantee by the Malaysian Government and the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.