Food Coalition

Developing sustainable, eco-friendly, climate smart food production along value chains in Africa

The disruptions created by the COVID-19 crisis have accentuated many of the fragilities in contemporary food systems in Africa. The pandemic has added another layer of challenges to the systems that are already characterized by unsustainable and non-competitive food production practices leading to land degradation and loss in biodiversity, without providing adequate and decent jobs. This has resulted to many countries in Africa not being able to provide safe and nutritious food to everyone, and thus being highly import-dependent.

However, the pandemic has also increased focus on the importance of sustainable utilization and protection of natural resources, including soils, water, forests and biodiversity to maintain the buffer capacity of nature against diseases as well as climate change. COVID-19 also highlighted vulnerabilities in nations dependent on importation of food and agricultural inputs, prompting consideration of the redistribution of food surpluses within the region through expanded intra-continental trade and by increasing support towards the creation of shorter value chains. This will create more localized, gender sensitive and innovative approaches that are a response to specific needs of men, women and youth along the value chains.

At the same time, we should not lose sight of some of the fundamental longer-term tradeoffs of delivering sustainability of food systems and the need to factor these into the response and recovery. A transition is needed for a more sustainable food system that produce more, with more socio-economic benefits and with less environmental consequences. In many countries agriculture has been seen as an enemy of the environment and one of the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, but there is increasing recognition that a restorative, productive farming sector can provide environmental benefits and services while creating employment and sustaining livelihoods. It is critical that the “after pandemic” efforts are aimed at “build back better” with actions that catalyze transformation to food systems that are resilient to shocks and extreme weather variabilities; making all actors, especially in the informal sector, less vulnerable and that ensure individuals’ health and wellbeing and social protection when needed while at the same time promoting inclusiveness and improving environmental and economic sustainability by increasing efficiency and reducing waste.

Priority Areas of work: Food Systems Transformation
SDG: 1. No Poverty, 2. Zero Hunger, 5. Gender Equality, 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth, 13. Climate Action, 14. Life Below Water, 15. Life on Land, 17. Partnerships to achieve the Goal
Level: Regional
Region: Africa
Country: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria
Budget: USD 15 million

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