Africa Food Transformational Project

Posted on 17 July 2017

The ability of Africa to feed itself and parts of the world on a sustained basis remains one of the greatest challenges of our time!
Climate change, population growth, urbanization, changing food preferences and increasing demand for agricultural products are pushing Africa's agricultural frontiers and putting increased pressure on the continent's natural capital. Agricultural production is expanding through extensification and intensification, and investments in agro-industries. If not well planned and managed, such developments have the potential to negatively impact on important ecosystems; reduce food systems' resilience to climate change; and increase the cost of food production in the long term.

We recognize that Africa has millions of smallholder farmers and pastoralists who not only deal with low productivity, poor soils, low inputs and minimal access to technology, but also few entry points to food value chains. Food value chains affect the continent's food and natural capital systems in two main ways. First, they help to improve the quality and diversity of products from smallholder farmers and create access to different markets and thus increase monetary gains, improve diet and nutrition, and enhance food productivity while recognizing the importance of ecosystems services. Second, consumers in many parts of the world, especially Europe and North America, are increasingly asking for commercial agricultural products such as palm oil, soyabeans, cocoa and sugar that are produced in more sustainable ways.

The goal of the Africa Food Transformational project is to promote land-based sustainable food systems that conserve natural capital and provide benefits to household food and nutrition security. Our belief is that through a collaborative approach of multiple stakeholders involved in land-based food chains and natural capital conservation, we can influence investment decisions, policies, governance systems, technologies and practices towards sustainability and increased resilience on the African continent and beyond. We are therefore excited that CIAT, CARE, ICRAF, AfDB and FAO joined with us in co-designing four bankable projects that form the bedrock of this initiative.

The bankable projects revolve around:
a. Multi-stakeholder engagement on scenario planning to model sustainable
agricultural development trajectories;
b. Knowledge generation and management systems on climate and conservation smart
agriculture in smallholder farming;
c. Sustainable value chains for priority commodities (e.g. palm oil, sugar, cocoa, cotton,
tea, coffee); and,
d. Socio-economic development and natural capital trade-offs in agricultural
investment corridors.

Given the complexity and scale of this task, we look forward to broadening our partnerships as we embark on a journey of resourcing for and implementing the four bankable projects across large landscapes of Africa.