Approach

Nakaseke farmers3

FoodLAND adopts a bottom-up approach and bases the initiatives to be carried out on producers’ and consumers’ motivations, needs and choices. The starting point is to draw a picture of consumers’ and producers’ preferences and behaviours, to detect food-related decision-making processes and factors.

Then a training phase is foreseen, aimed to provide local smallholder farmers and food processors with knowledge and conditions about the environmental challenges, technological advancements and consumers’ nutritional needs, for their empowerment and engagement with local, regional and global markets, and thus contributing to the sustainability of food supply chains and the durable development of the rural areas.

Several technological innovations (including new tools, processes and products) will be developed, adapted and validated together with local smallholder farmers and processors, both for farming systems and for food processing systems, to strengthen nutrition-responsive agro-biodiversity and integrated aquaculture systems. In line with these technological innovations, a set of innovative food products will also be released, which aim to help alleviate the nutritional needs, where priority will be given to mothers and children within the first 1,000 days of life.

All these activities will be performed at the network of 14 local Food Hubs that FoodLAND has created in the six African countries where the project is being carried out, paired with 14 separate cities. At the Food Hubs, relevant actors aggregate and they serve as injection points for the introduction of innovations. These 14 local Food Hubs are conceived as multi-actors centres of innovation where the organizational, technological, cultural, and operational conditions will be developed or enhanced, enabling local food supply chains improvement, as well as to strengthen the nutrition-responsive agro-biodiversity and food diversity in the region. Synergies among the Food Hubs will be enhanced, encouraging exchanges of results and feedbacks across the network of Food Hubs and fostering the replicability of the validated innovations.

The Food Hubs are the organizational and operational frameworks that join together local smallholder farmers, food processors (SMEs), authorities, researchers, and NGOs. The organization of the local Food Hubs will enable smallholder farmers and food processors (SMEs) to make shared decisions, adopt common business models, deploy open innovative systems and tools at an appropriate scale, facilitate contractual agreements, build interrelationships with stakeholders, and run participatory activities.

The Food Hubs will create the conditions enabling proactive farmers and processors involvement, exchanges between actors, and implementation of tailored business models; learner-centred training courses will precede the envisaged activities; participatory methods will be adopted to jointly define objectives and share decisions relevant to the innovations, etc.

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Expected impacts

Production level:

  • Reduction of resources (water, feed, fertilizers) for food production
  • Increase products’ quality, in terms of safety and nutrient content
  • Increase of crop and fish production yields
  • Increase engagement of farmers to local Food Hubs and the technological innovations

Food processing level:

  • Increase of fresh products shelf-life
  • Reduction of food losses at storage and food waste
  • Increase of manufacturing yields
  • Increase engagement of food processors to local Food Hubs and the technological innovations

Consumers’ level:

  • Ameliorated products’ functional and nutritional properties
  • Increase interest of consumers in buying novel products
  • Increase proportion of women in reproductive age consuming nutrient-dense diets