The Agricultural Consultative Forum (ACF) in partnership with the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), the University of Leeds, Chatham House and the UK Met Office launched the Agricultural and Food Systems Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy (AFRICAP) programme on the 25th of September 2018, Lusaka, Zambia.
The meeting was attended by over 50 participants representing relevant government departments, non-government organizations, farmer organizations, universities, researchers, civil society organizations among others. The main objective of the workshop was to introduce the four-year project to key stakeholders working within the food, agriculture and development space.
The GCRF-AFRICAP is an £8m program funded by the United Kingdom’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)led by the University of Leeds, a leading international university in the north of England, in partnership with FANRPAN, a pan African multi-stakeholder policy network whose regional secretariat is based in Pretoria, South Africa. The program is focused on generating evidence-based policy to transform agriculture and food systems in Africa with a view of identifying key steps towards a more resilient food system for 2050. AFRICAP also aims at improving productivity of farming systems, and their resilience to shocks emanating from climate change impacts. Research will be conducted in selected African countries including Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia and the UK, thus enabling the project to provide a multi-country synthesis and lessons.
Speaking at the launch, the FANRPAN Chief Executive Officer (CEO), highlighted that Zambia was selected as one of the four focus countries for this programme because of the boundless opportunities the country presents in terms of its agriculture food systems. But more specifically because of the commitment of the Zambian government to developing the sector as reflected in the country’s Agriculture Sector Policies and Strategies.
AFRICAP Co-Director Professor Tim Benton from the University of Leeds, in his opening remarks emphasized the need to ensure that the programme provides Zambia with the solutions it needs. He explained that challenges posed by climate change require a multi-sectoral approach as no one discipline can address them all. He employed stakeholders present to bring forth ideas that can be included to ensure that the vison if the project succeed and benefits all stakeholders involved.
Mr. Phillip Siamuyoba, speaking on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of Agriculture, Mr Julius Shawa, welcomed the project and pledged the Ministry of Agriculture’s support and emphasized the need for projects like AFRICAP to align with government priorities and initiatives as they are all ultimately intended to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable smallholder farmers.
The launch of the project was followed on the 27th of September by a Scenario Participatory Workshop from in which stakeholders deliberated on a number of key questions regarding the future of agri-food systems in Zambia in the wake of climate change. Outputs from the Scenario Participatory Workshop will be packaged into a range of publications aimed at unpacking what will be needed to get Zambia to develop sustainable, productive, climate smart agricultural systems to attain food security, nutrition and economic development.
As FANRPAN’s node host in Zambia, ACF will coordinate program activities, including providing support to the research team working with researchers in Zambia Research Institutions; and the administration of a bursary scheme for African and UK scholars to attend bespoke research training courses. ACF will partner with several government departments and civil society organisation to develop and run applied research projects and will jointly generate and disseminate research outputs through joint research-policy forums.
For more information on AFRICAP project activities in Tanzania contact:
ACF – Christian Chomba (firstname.lastname@example.org )
University of Leeds – Dr Stephen Whitfield (S.Whitfield@leeds.ac.uk )