Shifting Momentum in African Agriculture through Research and Technologies: Improving resiliency, livelihoods, and nutrition
2019-2020 Carter Conference on
Shifting Momentum in African Agriculture through Research and Technologies:
SMART Agriculture | SMART Growth | SMART Kids
Improving resiliency, livelihoods, and nutrition
The Center for African Studies at the University of Florida is pleased to announce a collaborative conference with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems on shifting momentum in African agriculture through research and technologies to improve resilience, livelihoods, and nutrition.
Well-nourished populations, especially women and children, are the central focus of efforts to nurture development and increase resilience of households and communities. With more than one in four of its 856 million people undernourished, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the world’s most food-insecure region. The Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is focused on rural smallholder famers in the six African countries where it works. In these countries, 80 percent of people rely on livestock for their livelihood, which presents important challenges as well as opportunities. The Lab adopts an inter-disciplinary and applied research approach aiming to develop livestock production to improve human nutrition and resilience and ultimately contribute to strengthening the social and institutional capacities in these countries.
The conference will focus on the role that nutrition, livelihoods and resilience play in societal development. It does so by acknowledging the close relationship between good nutrition, inclusive and sustainable agricultural-led economic growth and strengthened resilience among people and natural systems.
This year’s Carter conference will open with a keynote presentation evening of Wednesday, April 15, 2020. The next two days are devoted to presentations and panel sessions around the following four subthemes, with the conference wrapping on a participant forum to explore cross-thematic issues as well as steps for going forward:
- Integrated agricultural systems;
- Technologies, innovations, and behavioral change;
- Markets and policies;
- Education and youth involvement.
Integrated Agricultural Systems
Resilience of communities and households, in particular farming households, relates to their ability to bounce back after a stress event, whether the stress is related to weather, civil unrest, political change, etc. Given the complexity of the problem, there is a need for an integrated systems approach that explores aspects at the farm level but also at meso (market/ community) level, reinforcing the capacities of different parts of the agricultural (livestock) system and value chains to allow for sustainable agricultural-led economic growth and improved nutrition.
Technologies, Innovations, and Behavioral Change
Adoption of new practices and technologies developed by researchers often remains low due to a variety of reasons including lack of awareness and understanding of underlying social and cultural factors. There is need for sharing approaches that have worked and asking the questions of what additional research is needed to improve adoption.
Markets and Policies
Improving access to agricultural (livestock) markets particularly for women can significantly increase household resilience and improve household nutritional status as income earned by women is used primarily for family needs such as food, health services, and education. In relation to this, national and regional policies supportive of the livestock sector including commercialization of livestock and ASF are critical for resilient systems. Economic analysis of various initiatives targeting improving resilience will allow for the development of various scenarios of how livestock systems may perform under different parameters. Scenarios from the Sahel region and some Eastern African countries are being elaborated and will be able to inform decisions in these as well as other countries.
Education and Youth Involvement
More than half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa. Youth education and their involvement in all parts of agricultural (and livestock) systems will be key to sustainable agricultural-led economic growth that will be able to withstand shocks. This means more development of specialists in agriculture and or livestock-related fields but also areas such as entrepreneurship to allow scaling of technologies and approaches.