Despite economic growth and millions of people having been lifted out of poverty, food insecurity and a lack of nutrition remain daunting challenges in many parts of the world. The number of people suffering from hunger is on the rise, and two-thirds of the global extreme poor work hard to earn their livelihoods in agriculture.
The challenges of achieving food and nutrition security are largest in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia, where smallholder farmers provide around 80% of the food consumed. Hence, transforming smallholder farming in these regions to increase productivity, profitability and environmental and social sustainability will be a key to reaching Sustainable Development Goal 2, as well as and many other SDGs.
This transformation is, however, complex, and may have both negative and positive outcomes for large groups in society. The magnitude of the challenge increases in the face of climate change and loss of ecosystem services (including loss of biodiversity and soil fertility), which seriously threaten food and nutrition security for humanity.
Transforming smallholder systems
To reach SDG2, there is a need for a transformative agenda that includes science-based, well-crafted and, crucially, context-specific government interventions and policies, as well as improved and innovative agricultural practices.
It is therefore critical to assist countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia to develop their capacity to catalyze and govern this transition. Science and scientists have a crucial role to play in this transformation, and in supporting vulnerable and poor people in meeting future food and development demands. Science can offer technical and social solutions and support policy reform and new practices. This means going beyond academic journals and finding ways to collaborate with policymakers and practitioners to jointly frame problems, generate new knowledge, and make that knowledge relevant to specific contexts. This is what AgriFoSe2030 sets out to do.
The work of the programme entails the following:
- Training and capacity building with researchers and other stakeholders through exchanges, courses and workshops to increase their capacity to synthesize, analyze and communicate science.
- High-quality synthesis and analysis on smallholder farming systems that is relevant to policy and practice and tailored for key actors.
- Innovative platforms and knowledge networks that connect scientists, practitioners, policymakers and others for knowledge exchange and action at multiple scales.
AgriFoSe2030 Phase II, which launches in November 2020, will focus on four challenges (see figure below). These challenges are at the core of Phase II and provide the platform for upcoming activities. Each challenge addresses a specific aspect of agriculture and food security in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia. The challenges were chosen in dialogue with AgriFoSe2030 partners, including steering group members and researchers in the AgriFoSe2030 network representing different agricultural disciplines and regions. The theme-specific expertise from Phase I will be present in each challenge, and communication and engagement strategies will be developed on a project basis for each challenge.
The AgriFoSe2030 programme is developed by a consortium of scientists from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Lund University, University of Gothenburg and Stockholm Environment Institute. The programme is funded by Sida, the Swedish International Development Agency, and is starting a new four-year phase in 2020 with a budget of SEK 60 million. The programme began in November 2015 with its first phase, which ended in June 2020. AgriFoSe2030 is hosted by SLU Global at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
The AgriFoSe2030 programme is organized as shown in the figure above. There is a steering group that governs the programme, which is coordinated and supported by SLU Global. The consortium leads the four challenges and their respective projects. In addition, there is a communication and engagement team that supports the programme in outreach and stakeholder engagement.
Now that AgriFoSe2030 has launched its second phase, get to know more about some of the upcoming projects in these videos.
The launch event of AgriFoSe2030 to highlight and celebrate the new, second phase of the programme, took place on 24 November 2020.