Five ways AFRICAP addresses food security in Africa

According to the United Nations, in 2018, an estimated 821 million suffered from hunger – that’s approximately 70 million more people than the entire population of Europe.

Research shows that intersectionality plays a significant role in which groups are most affected. Women account for 60% of the world’s hungry, and 98% of undernourished populations live in developing countries.

Launched in 2011 by The Hunger Project, World Hunger Day is held annually on 28 May to raise awareness of chronic hunger while celebrating sustainable solutions to ending poverty worldwide.

Five ways AFRICAP addresses food security

Food security is a key aim of the AFRICAP project. To show our support for the World Hunger Day movement, here are five ways our international team is working to address hunger through food systems research and policy in Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa.

1. Future scenarios work: Team members across the project used a mechanism to consider the future of food security under various climate change scenarios, allowing in-country stakeholders and policymakers to identify and plan for the most critical uncertainties for their agri-food systems. Results are shared in policy papers specific to Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and South Africa, as well as an article by AFRICAP co-director, Professor Tim Benton, on using scenario analyses to address the future of food.

2. Media training: Last year we led media training workshops in each focal country, collaborating directly with journalists to understand challenges and help increase media coverage on agriculture and food systems. Now, the team is using the results to produce a How-To guide for those involved in large research projects to effectively engage with media. Though indirectly related to food security, improvements in reporting will impact public knowledge and give policymakers and public better access to information on agri-food systems, nutrition, and more. Check out a summary article on Tanzania’s media training workshop.

3. Surveying households: Led by FANRPAN, and involving all in-country partners, the team developed a tool to conduct surveys which look at household vulnerability to climate change and the effects on food and nutrition security. View the survey results from South Africa where we heard first-hand from nearly 400 farmers.

4. Food safety and contamination: Food science and nutrition researchers from the University of Leeds work on biochemical food safety to improve food storage practices and reduce postharvest loss. A key aim is to reduce mycotoxin contamination of food crops, one of the most significant contributors to food and feed losses in sub-Saharan Africa. Read more in our briefing note on aflatoxins and climate change in Africa.

5. Climate-smart seed systems: Led by Dr. Stephen Whitfield, University of Leeds researchers surveyed stakeholders involved in seed system activities in Africa, including crop breeders, regulators, seed companies, seed banks, agrodealers, extension officers and farmers, to understand priorities for seed systems. The results, including the impact of climate change on drought risk and cassava toxicity, will be shared through an upcoming paper.

These are just a few of the ways team AFRICAP has worked to address hunger in sub-Saharan Africa. Visit the AFRICAP website or contact the team by email for more information on their work related to food security.