Policies, Institutions, Capacities

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Policies, Institutions, Capacities

Food systems around the world are expected to concurrently provide food security and nutrition for the world’s ever-growing population, and livelihoods for millions of farmers and rural dwellers as well as other actors along the food chain, while improving environmental sustainability. Better policies are urgently needed to achieve this objective. However, policies aiming at improving the outcomes of one component of the food system can also positively or negatively affect other components, and hence present a complex multilayered system which makes the design and implementation of policies a daunting task for policy makers and practitioners. A food systems approach requires that policies are coherent across all the components of the system, that is, policies should consider relevant synergies and trade-offs at the international, national, and sub-national levels. In the context of the food systems, policy interventions are necessary to provide a public good such as an agricultural R&D or food safety regulation or to address a market failure as well as trade issues. Policy decisions affect many other parts of the food system, including production, consumer knowledge and  food choices. Thus, it is imperative that practitioners and policy makers pay attention to the understanding and promotion of policy actions that support global food systems.

Given the multiple interacting factors in the food system, the need to strengthen institutional capacity to develop an inclusive innovation ecosystem is imperative. This, among others, entails African institutions accessing tools and methodologies to bridge gaps in capacities and enhance human resources, allowing countries to respond to emerging issues and improve agricultural productivity. An approach in this respect is ensuring that AR4D institutions plan and respond to national capacity requirements in science, technology and innovation as well as foresight, while mainstreaming gender in national programmes and interventions. Additionally, strengthening Africa’s foresight capacity and systems thinking will help countries confront diverse challenges for a more responsive agri-food system. Key actions in this respect include strengthening the capacity for foresight among professionals in African AR4D institutions and the private sector, sensitizing stakeholders about the relevance of foresight, development of competencies in conducting foresight and technical assistance to drive regional and national foresight and food system processes. These actions will catalyse a shift in the food systems approach in diagnosing, planning, and implementing interventions that sustainably improve agricultural productivity and accelerate the continent’s transition to a sustainable and inclusive food system.

This subtheme seeks to discuss and provide solutions on a broad range of issues of modern agricultural policies (trade, productivity, climate change, investment), foresight, improved capacities (human, infrastructure, social and economic) and strong institutions to respond to emerging issues and align with the sustainable development goals (SDGs). 

Sub Theme 5

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