Leeds helps launch new £9m programme to transform food systems in Africa

A £9.2 million University-led research programme focused on improving productivity of African farming systems and their resilience to shocks caused by climate change has been launched.

The partners in AFRICAP launched the programme with a series of meetings in Pretoria, South Africa

The partners in AFRICAP launched the programme with a series of meetings in Pretoria, South Africa March 2018

The programme, called Agricultural and Food-system Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy (AFRICAP), will conduct its research activities in South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi, as well as the UK.

AFRICAP is led by Leeds, in partnership with the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), a pan-African policy network, with the aim of generating evidence-based policy to transform agriculture and food systems on the continent. This is critical given agriculture’s key role in Africa’s economy, contributing about 15 per cent of continental GDP, with smallholdings constituting about 80 per cent of all farms in sub-Saharan Africa, employing about 175 million people directly and having significant impact on the environment.

AFRICAP will also assess how food, agriculture and natural resources policies can be developed so they support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Lead researcher, Professor Tim Benton, from Leeds, who is the UK’s former Global Food Security Champion, said: “This is about weather, climate, agriculture, economic growth, sustainability, livelihoods; with the end-game being how best to design policy for African growth that is climate smart and sustainable.”

Dr Tobias Takavarasha, FANRPAN Chief Executive Officer, said: “AFRICAP presents a unique opportunity for African and UK institutions to collaboratively build the capacities required across research and policy to tackle the challenge of achieving sustainable and resilient transformation of agriculture and food systems in Africa.”

Funding for the project comes from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a £1.5 billion UK Government programme to support research that addresses critical problems in developing countries across the world. It is administered by the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

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