GCRF-AFRICAP - Agricultural and Food-system Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sch of Biology

Abstract

Agricultural development is fundamental to achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Levels of undernourishment and malnutrition remain high across the region and current trends show a growing gap between the food needs of a growing population and agricultural productivity. Moreover, in a context of changing climates, and, in many areas, increased incidence of extreme and unprecedented events (notably drought and extreme heat, as well as increasingly extreme rainfall and crop pest infestations), the increased risk of crop failures is exacerbating this challenge. Across Africa, governments recognise that agricultural development and transformation needs to be an engine of economic growth and poverty alleviation, particularly where cycles of low productivity (and periodic crop failures), limited access to resources, and small land holdings lock rural households into cycles of poverty.
Agricultural practice must also contribute to the sustaining of soil, water, biodiversity and more, and is increasingly being targeted as a sector within which we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Achieving sustainable and resilient transformations of agriculture and food systems in Africa is a complex and multi-faceted challenge, which requires novel approaches to research and evidence and new policy and institutional enabling environments. This project sets out to collaboratively build the capacities required across research and policy to tackle this multi-faceted challenge, and help avoid the policy paralysis that in some countries led to little or no progress towards the Millennium Development goals.

The project team, which includes the University of Leeds, University of Aberdeen, the UK Met Office, the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and Chatham House encompasses expertise in agriculture, climate, ecology, soils, water, post-harvest losses, land use, nutrition and health, rural livelihoods, and policy and institutional analysis. FANRPAN is a multi-stakeholder pan-African network whose mission is to build resilient food systems across Africa through the assessment and creation of food, agriculture and natural resources policies that are both evidence-based and developed in partnership with non-state actors.

We will address research and capacity growth under 3 broad themes: (1) how to make agriculture (and food systems) productive as well as resilient to extreme weather whilst minimising impacts on the environment and maximising its contributions to livelihoods, and food and nutrition (2) as the economic and food-security demands on agriculture change over the next decades, and at the same time weather and climate risks change, what are the feasible ways that agriculture can develop to become more productive in order to meet future needs? (3) how can policy be developed that enables potential sustainable, productive, climate-resilient pathways to be realised in the most inclusive way, thus maximising the contribution of agriculture to achieving the SDGs?

Work will be focused in four countries in SSA: Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia -which are low income countries with varied farming systems - and South Africa, which is an upper middle income country. In each country, research and policy capacity will be built through collaborative partnerships across academic institutions, non-governmental organisations, and policy makers. Through FANRPAN and Chatham House' s inter-governmental policy expertise and platforms, we aim to generate lessons learned from our case-study countries and disseminate them across Africa to contribute to capacity building and evidence-based agricultural transformation through the application of a similar model of evidence into policy in other African countries, and at the regional level.

Planned Impact

Our motivation in this grant is to make a positive difference towards ensuring the implementation of sustainable agricultural development pathways in the face of multiple, sometimes conflicting, needs: sustainability priorities for agriculture and food systems, the changing demands and pressures arising from climate change (and its mitigation and adaptation) and the need for productivity growth to support economic development in SSA. The Malabo declaration of the heads of state of the African Union reaffirmed the key principles of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) which include, among others: a) the pursuit of agriculture-led growth as a main strategy to achieve targets on food and nutrition security and shared prosperity; b) the exploitation of regional complementarities and cooperation to boost growth; c) the application of principles of evidence-based planning, policy efficiency, dialogue, review, and accountability; and (d) the need to build resilience in the face of climate change.

The project is designed to target the building of capacity for research and knowledge exchange to underpin policy and practice, through co-designed activities and research training across UK and African institutions in order to address critical gaps in understanding, within the project and beyond it. This will be achieved through new collaborations and integrated working across UK teams from Leeds (with expertise in food and nutrition security, climate and weather, agriculture, politics, livelihoods, environment), UK Met Office (climate and weather), Aberdeen (land use and climate change, nutrition), Chatham House (policies and governance). The UK teams will work closely in SSA, facilitated by FANRPAN, the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy and Analysis Network (research-into-policy expertise), as well as building on existing relationships of project partners in the four focal countries, for example between the UK Met Office and National Met Services; and between the University of Leeds and Liongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Malawi), Sokoine University (Tanzania), University of Zambia and Stellenbosch University (SA).

It further aims to build capacities for the management and implementation of ambitious, policy-oriented research (drawing particularly on expertise within the Leeds University Research Innovation Service and the FANRPAN operations team), strengthen mechanisms and forums for evidence-based policy implementation and upscaling, and use evidence to help design policies to deliver sustainable and Climate Smart Agrifood System development. The project represents an investment in a long term strategy for evidence to feed into policy across scales, from initial ' special agricultural zones' within each of the case study countries, into national and regional policy forums (a model with which Chatham House have experience).

This model, and its implementation, will draw in particular on the extensive policy networks and convening power, at a regional level, of FANRPAN and, at an international level, of Chatham House. This includes relationships with on-going initiatives, such as the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (ACSAA) and the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA), as well as with the African Union/New Partnership for Africa's Development (AU/NEPAD), Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA).

Publications

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Whitfield S (2018) Frontiers in Climate Smart Food Systems: Outlining the Research Space in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems

 
Title Tigwirane Manja 
Description A participatory documentary film in Mangochi, Malawi documenting local challenges and locally developed solutions. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Notable impacts are that the group who made the film are currently putting into practice the solutions that they came up with, working with the chiefs and wider community. There were also two main screenings of the film: one in the village in which it was made which was attended by 300-400 people and one in Lilongwe which was attended by 50+ people many of whom work in development for a variety of organisations: notably the head of USAID and several UN department heads. It has also been seen by lots of small groups of development workers, friends and residents of the neighbouring village in Malawi. There are also plans to set up a local cinema in the village where it was made so that the group can continue showing it and show new films. 
 
Description Advising on national policy development (e.g. Malawi, S Africa) Developing new stakeholder networks promoting "anticipatory" rather than "historical" policy making (PSWs and associated capacity building in stakeholder networks)
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description CISANET invited to join Malawi's National Resilience Strategy taskforce
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Submission by AFRICAP Lead Partner and Country Node to the Director General of Environmental Affairs for the South African Climate Change bill
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Interdisciplinary PhDs: The Ethics of Climate Services
Amount £51,650 (GBP)
Organisation University of Leeds 
Department Priestley International Centre for Climate
Start 10/2018 
End 09/2021
 
Description SHEAR
Amount £245,000 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/S005900/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 10/2018 
End 07/2020
 
Title Household survey 
Description The household survey has resulted from a tool owned by FANRPAN known as the Household Assets and Vulnerability Assessment. Building on this, GCRF-AFRICAP team members from FANRPAN, University of Leeds and the University of Aberdeen have contributed to the design of a new survey which aims to capture baseline data for the study to allow outcomes to be measured at programme end and beyond. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The survey is expansive as it captures information on: household demographics; agriculture land holding; crop cultivation systems; fertiliser inputs; irrigation inputs; land management techniques; livestock systems; household wellbeing and assets; household nutrition and dietary diversity; the presence of aflatoxins; and resilience to shocks. 
 
Description Aflatoxin Workshop: Assessing health burdens from aflatoxin exposure in African food systems 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Aflatoxins have been recognized as significant contaminants and the control strategies have mostly eliminated their harmful exposures in developed countries. However, in developing countries, about 5 billion people are at risk of chronic exposure to aflatoxins through contaminated foods. The understanding of aflatoxin exposure, biological plausibility of health effects and exposure reduction remedies was required in context to the associated question of food insufficiency and economic challenges in developing countries.
In response to the emerging issue of childhood stunting through suspected dietary aflatoxin exposure, a workshop of 25 food science, nutrition and health experts and food safety officials/managers was organized at the School of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Leeds. The HEFCE GCRF Aflatoxin Workshop brought together a diverse group to discuss aflatoxin exposure and risk assessments in sub-Saharan African countries, the related health effects, the influence of climate change and to foresee the future possibilities of developing an integrated research plan aimed to reduce and prevent aflatoxin exposure. It collected advanced knowledge about the intensity of aflatoxin exposure and possibly linked burden of childhood stunting and suggested the development of effective, culturally appropriate strategies to address it effectively within developing countries, where aflatoxin exposure is intertwined with issues of food insecurity, insufficiency or malnutrition. The workshop emphasized the collaboration at local, regional, national, and international level in order to effectively combine food safety research, public health and agricultural approaches to control the aflatoxin exposure and associated morbidity and mortality. Further, it provided much needed evidence for governments and policy decision makers to take effective management action for reducing poverty and improving child nutrition.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://physicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/events/event/557/assessing_health_burdens_from_aflatoxin_exposu...
 
Description COMESA Summit 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The FANRPAN CEO and AFRICAP Co-PI participated in the twentieth Summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in Lusaka, Zambia on 18-19 July 2018. The summit theme was 'Towards Digital Economic Integration'. The Co-PI had an opportunity to meet with the Incoming COMESA Secretary General to brief her on FANRPAN activities including the AFRICAP project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.comesa.int/summit2018/
 
Description Climate Smart Agriculture Summit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact FANRPAN participated at the Africa Climate Smart Agriculture summit that took place from 15 -16 May 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. The summit was held under the theme " Partnerships, Innovations & Financing for Climate Smart Agriculture". The SDGs were a point of departure for the summit discussions. The objective was to provide an opportunity for cross-sector networking and knowledge exchange that is competent and neutral, technical and commercial by bringing together all stakeholders, including regional governments and policy makers, private sector and research organisations, UN agencies and civil society. Key Messages from the summit relevant to AFRICAP included:
- Climate change is already having an impact on agriculture and food security as a result of increased prevalence of extreme events and increased unpredictability of weather patterns
- CSA is an approach to developing the technical, policy and investment conditions to achieve sustainable agricultural development for food security under climate change
- Prior to policy formulation and implementation, there is need to evaluate the existing strategies to increase agriculture crop yields
- Agricultural policies that are formulated should ensure that Africa is working towards sustainable climate resilience Strengthening and expanding institutions to improve the distribution of information can assist in the improvement of upscaling CSA in Africa.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://csa-africa.aidforum.org/
 
Description Design and launch of GCRF-AFRICAP programme website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A dedicated programme website has been designed to ensure reach beyond the organisations involved. Content has been provided from across the GCRF-AFRICAP team to ensure website users gain clarity on programme research activities by Theme and Country. All programme-related events are posted on the website which has led to at least one request from a senior government official to attend the Tanzanian kick-off and scenarios participatory workshop in September 2018. The website also includes a blog where content will be posted to further engage audiences; a space where programme-related publications can be downloaded; and links to the dedicated programme Twitter account (see separate engagement activity).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://africap.info
 
Description FANRPAN and NAMC meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact FANRPAN's CEO and AFRICAP Co-PI together with FANRPAN South Africa Node Institution NAMC briefed the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) on the programme. The Minister welcomed the programme and highlighted a number of areas in which the project could support the Government of South Africa's agriculture development efforts in the face of a changing climate. He particularly welcomed the participatory scenario building work which will be conducted to describe the potential future status of agri-food systems based on best knowledge of their contemporary state and plausible trajectories of change at a regional scale. The Minister also highlighted the technical support the ministry will need in addressing the land policy issues so that imbalances in ownership and access are corrected in a manner that does not disrupt growth of the sector and the economy as a whole. There is an opportunity for the project through the participatory scenario building work to provide evidence and advice on land policy that will address historical inequities in a manner that protects and advances agricultural sector performance, food security, economic growth and job creation in the country.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description High-level breakfast (Lilongwe, Malawi) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The purpose of the meeting was to bring together high level government officials from relevant Ministries and brief them about the GCRF-AFRICAP Project. The High Level Government Officials were expected to give their input on how the project would support government initiatives related to the scope of the project. The meeting was attended by 18 representatives from government line ministries and departments including the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment, Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), Industry, Trade and Tourism (MoITT), Department of Land Resources Conservation (DLRC), Ministry of Health Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS (DNHA) and Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Launch of dedicated GCRF-AFRICAP Twitter account 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A Twitter account was created in August 2018 to provide information on the programme and create an online network beyond the researchers and organisations involved. Tweets about GCRF-AFRICAP publications, events and job vacancies have been liked and retweeted by researchers and research organisations in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK; private sector organisations active in agriculture; and accounts associated with news outlets. There has also been engagement with accounts associated with other GCRF-funded programmes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://twitter.com/gcrfafricap
 
Description Participatory scenarios workshop (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact During the workshop, stakeholders deliberated on a number of key questions regarding the future of agri-food systems in Tanzania in the wake of climate change. Outputs from the Participatory Scenarios Workshop will be packaged into a range of publications aimed at unpacking what is needed to get Tanzania to develop sustainable, productive, climate smart agricultural systems to attain food security, nutrition and economic development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.esrftz.org/newsdetail.php?id=242
 
Description Press coverage of Malawi kick-off event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact On Thursday 12th July 2018, CISANET, in conjunction with University of Leeds and FANRPAN, held a Kick Off meeting to mark the start of GCRF-AFRICAP project in Malawi.
CISANET invited twelve journalists (including camera people) from eight media houses to provide media coverage for this event. Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), Times Radio, Capital FM, Joy FM and Malawi Broadcasting Coroporation (MBC) Radio One covered and broadcasted the event. Zodiak TV, Times TV and MBC TV covered and beamed the event in their news programmes. Three print publications published (The Nation Publications Limited (NPL), Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL) and Globe Publications) and two online publications (SMASH and Maravi Post) also covered the event. The result was that information about the programme and the issues it is trying to address was disseminated to a wide audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.smashmw.com/launch-of-8m-research-programme-to-transform-agriculture-and-food-systems-in-...
 
Description Stakeholder workshop (Bloemfontein, South Africa) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The workshop served both as the national "kick-off" meeting for the AFRICAP project in South Africa, as well as an initial stakeholder engagement session to discuss climate smart agriculture as it applies to the country. The participants included representatives of several government departments (including Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the National Agricultural Marketing Council), as well as NGOs, farmers and academics. After presentations about the project, and about climate-smart agriculture issues, the workshop broke into parallel working-groups discussing grains, horticulture and livestock issues. Feedback from these sessions helped narrow down geographical areas and crop systems to explore further in developing the national implementation of the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.fanrpan.org/sites/default/files/Final%20FANRPAN%20Digest%20issue%201%202%20August%202018...
 
Description Stakeholder workshop (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Organised by partner ESRF, the main objective of the workshop was to introduce the four-year project to key stakeholders in Tanzania working within the food, agriculture and development space. AFRICAP seeks to develop pathways to address challenges in the future. Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Agriculture noted the timeliness of the launch of the AFRICAP programme given the recent unveiling of the Agriculture Sectoral Development Programme II, with the main objective of transforming the agricultural sector (crops, livestock & fisheries) towards higher productivity, commercialization level and smallholder farmer income for improved livelihood, food security and nutrition. He welcomed the project and congratulated ESRF and the GCRF-AFRICAP project team for their interest in contributing towards agricultural sector development through research and capacity building with the ultimate aim of reducing the impacts of climate change to the most vulnerable in society.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.esrftz.org/newsdetail.php?id=242
 
Description Stakeholder workshop (Lilongwe, Malawi) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact GCRF-AFRICAP Malawi-based partner the Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) organised a programme launch meeting on 12 July 2018 at Bingu International Conference Centre, in Lilongwe, Malawi. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the GCRF AFRICAP project to stakeholders in Malawi and build a pool of partners to work with at national level. The 54 participants represented relevant government departments, non-government organizations, farmer organizations, universities, researchers, civil society organizations among others. During the meeting - facilitated by CISANET - attendees deliberated on how the project should work with key stakeholders in the development of sustainable, productive, climate smart agricultural systems to meet food security and economic development needs. Discussions also centred on assessing how food, agriculture and natural resources policies can be developed so that they support the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Mr Chesterman Kumwenda from the Malawi Food, Agriculture Organisation (FAO) office presented a update on Malawi's progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). He welcomed the GCRF-AFRICAP project and highlighted the need for the team to link up with ongoing activities in the country.

Participants were interested to find out about the role that existing research will play in the project, and how the research created from GCRF-AFRICAP will be disseminated as well as proposing areas for consideration in the programme research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.cisanetmw.org/index.php/142-press-release-gcrf-africap-kicks-off-in-malawi
 
Description The inaugural meeting of the Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land Use and Energy (FABLE) consortium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A representative from GCRF-AFRICAP project partner Chatham House attended the inaugural meeting of the Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land Use and Energy (FABLE) Pathways Consortium. The Consortium aims to discuss how countries can develop integrated pathways towards sustainable land-use and food systems that are consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This sparked discussion on the potential for a partnership between the FABLE Consortium and AFRICAP. There is overlap because the Consortium includes a regional team from South Africa that will liaise with governments, business, civil society organisations, and other stakeholders to consult on modelling and ensure that the pathways can inform national and international policy processes. New country teams are being established and other AFRICAP focus countries (Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia) may be included in this process. As such, AFRICAP's collaboration with the Consortium could go beyond academic collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://unsdsn.org/news/2018/01/05/pathways-towards-sustainable-land-use-and-food-systems/
 
Description Zambia meeting with stakeholders 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A day-long meeting was held with the private seed companies in Lusaka on 25 September 2018 to discuss potential collaboration with GCRF-AFRICAP.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018