HealthyFoodAfrica project underway to improve food systems in ten African cities

November 9, 2020

HealthyFoodAfrica is an EU-funded research & innovation action aiming at sustainable, equitable and resilient food systems in African cities. The project is a collaborative effort by 17 partners in both Europe and Africa.

African agri-food systems are facing numerous challenges related to climate change, rapid population growth and urbanization. Both food production and consumption patterns must change in order to provide access to nutritious food while counteracting social inequality, environmental degrada­tion, food loss and inadequate waste management.

In the HealthyFoodAfrica project 17 European and African partners work in close collaboration to improve nutrition in Africa by strengthening the diversity, sustainability, resilience and connectivity of food systems.

Transformation through local solutions

The work in HealthyFoodAfrica is localized in ten African cities, the so-called Food System Labs. The Food System Labs are located in six East, West and Southern African countries, and they bring together the local food system actors to tackle context-specific food system challenges.

The Food System Labs aim to link local producers and consumers, diversify the product selection, and bolster local supply chains to create a more sustainable production system and promote more healthy and equitable diets. The Food System Labs are supported by researchers and practitioners from Europe and Africa, who will also enhance and facilitate the learning processes within each lab and across them.

The participatory, multi-actor approach will ensure food system transformation not only in the ten Food System Lab cities but also in wider terms: the local solutions developed and piloted in the Food System Labs will be shared and disseminated to allow their adaptation to other countries and circumstances as well.

“Only through linking the diverse expertise and knowledge this type of consortium includes, there is potential to develop tools for actual transformation. Both local knowledge and new technology are necessary, but the key to achieving sustainable change is in combining these to respond to context-specific challenges” summarizes HealthyFoodAfrica Project Coordinator, Senior Scientist Mila Sell from the Natural Resources Institute Finland.

RUAF and Hivos involvement

Hivos and RUAF are facilitating food system labs in Zambia (Lusaka and Chongwe) and in Uganda (Fort Portal) where it is collaborating with local NGO Kabarole Research Centre (KRC). This new work enables Hivos and partners to sustain and build on earlier experiences of using a food system approach to give citizens a voice in shaping their local food systems. RUAF is also playing a key role in assessing policy/regulatory frameworks and developing pathways to scale up impact.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 862740.

HealthyFoodAfrica is coordinated by Natural Resources Institute Finland.