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 HealthyFoodAfrica we work in African-European collaboration to improve nutrition in Africa by strengthening the diversity, sustainability, resilience and connectivity of food systems. Our aim is to increase the range and quality of food products for a healthy diet as well as improve access to nutritious food.

Our work is organised in thematic Work Packages that have a focus on five thematic aspects of food systems, and localized in ten African cities, the so-called Food System Labs.

 

Visualisation of HealthyFoodAfrica project's thematic focus areas and Food System Labs.

Healthy nutrition

Improving nutrition and health through transformation of consumption patterns towards sustainable healthy diets

In this thematic Work Package nutrition and mainstream healthy dietary patterns are improved through increased awareness and rapid but sustainable transformation of consumption habits. Focus is on nutrition-sensitive approaches accompanied by nutrition education and awareness training. The key impact targeted is fostering healthy nutrition through more effective linkages between the production of healthy food, and consumption. Focusing on these connections and their dependencies with social, economic and environmental issues will play an important part in achieving positive long-term effects. This thematic Work Package is coordinated by Bioversity International.

Sustainable food production

Strengthening sustainability, resilience and diversity of food production systems to produce healthy and nutritious food

This thematic Work Package promotes production of healthy and nutritious food products through resource-efficient, climate-resilient production systems including crop, aquaculture and integrated systems. Particular attention is paid to fostering local food production and empowering women and youth. The objective is to contribute to more sustainable, diverse, resilient and climate-smart food production systems and strategies with a focus on food legumes, vegetables, fish and small livestock. Farmers will be introduced to innovative post-harvest handling practices and new innovations will be co-developed in collaboration with smallholder urban and peri-urban farmers. This Work Package is coordinated by University of Helsinki.

Food packaging and safety

Developing innovative post-harvest technologies to improve food safety and reduce food waste

The overall objective of this thematic Work Package is to increase the efficiency of agri-food chains and improve food safety through the development of innovative post-harvest innovations, new technologies and the minimization of food waste and losses. A related objective is the creation of increased value through improved processing and packaging. This will be achieved through the co-development and co-promotion of appropriate post-harvest and processing technologies, strengthening of food safety measures, improved processing capacity, and advancing product and packaging innovations. This thematic Work Package is coordinated by University of Zambia.

Food chain governance

Innovative governance arrangements for sustainable, resilient and nutritious agri-food chains

Overall objective of this thematic Work Package is to create more equitable and sustainable agri-food chains through innovative governance arrangements that strengthen the links between and empower local food chain actors in providing consumers with sustainable, healthy, nutritious and affordable food products. Focus is on small and medium-sized farms and those food processors and retailers that matter in connecting these farms to consumers. The aim is to establish governance arrangements and business models that reduce the food losses and links smallholder farmers to targeted agri-food chain actors to improve the efficiency of chains. This thematic Work Package is coordinated by University of Makerere.

Innovative food products

Development of novel food products, tools and processes to support innovative agri-business models

This thematic Work Package has emphasis on innovative approaches to create sustainable and nutritious food options. Through collaboration with food start-ups, local stakeholders and entrepreneurs innovative food products, processes and agri-business models are identified with special focus on plant-based innovations and local agro-biodiversity. The focus is on sustainable production of healthy and nutritious food products through resource-efficient, climate-resilient production systems. The most promising opportunities will be assessed in relation to target consumers, market potential and economic viability. This thematic Work Package is coordinated by Council for Scientific & Industrial Research in Ghana.