Rutgers Policy Research Consortium Holds a Listening Event with USAID Bureau for Food Security Centers
On October 28 and 29, 2019, the Rutgers University Policy Research Consortium, a consortium of U.S. and partner-country universities funded by the USAID Bureau for Food Security (BFS) Policy Team through an Associate Award to the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab, held a listening event at the National Press Club. On the first day, researchers presented their latest research on policy impact and the important implications it has for the bureau’s new Centers.
We learned that policy was an essential yet overlooked factor for the Green Revolution during the 20th century, and that it will be vital for achieving inclusive agricultural transformation this century and moving countries along the Journey to Self-Reliance. Strong, inclusive policy systems ensure that governments are investing in agriculture, that there is an enabling environment to attract the private sector, that there is coordination across sectors and stakeholders, and that historically marginalized populations - especially women, youth, ethnic minorities, and smallholder farmers - are able to access the resources and forums necessary for meaningful participation in agricultural transformation processes.
Some of the highlights of the consortium’s research for us were:
New indices of water insecurity and nutrition challenges: The global household water insecurity experience scale (HWISE) can be used to assess the prevalence of water insecurity, determine its causes and consequences, and monitor and evaluate interventions. The cost of a nutrient-adequate diet can monitor food system performance and identify where intervention is needed.
Studies show that policies such as food quality standards can influence consumer’s willingness to pay for locally produced safe, nutritious infant cereal in Malawi.
The explosive growth of egg and chicken value chains in Nigeria has opened a burgeoning sector of warehousing and trucking, which generates full time and part time jobs and allows smallholder farmers to produce high value food for growing urban markets.
Women are key for food production and food security yet continue to experience gender-based violence and exclusion in government and from high value agriculture.
On the second day, the consortium held listening sessions with BFS Centers and other USAID offices to better understand their evolving agendas as the Agency repositions itself to better facilitate country self-reliance. Based on these constructive discussions, the consortium aims to provide policy briefs of the relevant findings of the Rutgers consortium’s research and have further discussions with the BFS Centers to support the development of their respective policy agendas and priorities. In addition, they will work to structure a final report in 2020 that will be useful to the agency in the future.
The work presented by the consortium helps BFS understand the value of policy in improving country capacity and commitments to agricultural transformation. Moving forward, it is important that BFS helps Missions and partners in the field assess the value of particular policy options and, more importantly, strengthen the capacity of partner countries to develop policies that incorporate a greater number of voices in the policy system.
For more information, visit http://ru-ftf.rutgers.edu/.