Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Annual Report: October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy recently released its annual report covering research and activities progress over the past year. The overall goal of the FSP program is to promote inclusive agricultural productivity growth, improved nutritional outcomes, and enhanced livelihood resilience for men and women through improved policy environments. The goal will be achieved by fostering credible, inclusive, transparent and sustainable policy processes at country and regional levels and filling critical policy evidence gaps. The second full year of FSP implementation was also motivated by the Malabo Declaration goals of doubling smallholder productivity and tripling intra‐African trade by 2025 as a means to accelerate poverty reduction. The Leader Award supported design and implementation of two new associate in Nigeria and Senegal, building on lessons learned from associate awards launched in Burma and Malawi during the first year of FSP.

Food systems, especially in Africa, are changing rapidly. Employment generation in agriculture and the food economy is an increasingly important dimension of food security. FSP analyzes upstream and downstream food system transformation in a range of countries using a structural transformation lens. Research on upstream transformation has looked at sustainable intensification challenges (including fertilizer and seed policy), and changing land dynamics and their effect on mechanization and rural employment. This research has yielded paradigm shifting findings, especially on farm size in Africa that have been widely shared through conferences and publications as well as consultations with country ministries and other planning authorities. Similar progress has been attained on the understanding the dynamics of diet change associated with urbanization on linkages to producers and processors.

In addition to global research and engagement FSP provides demand driven strategic analytic support to USAID, national governments and other key stakeholders. This support has focused on support to the Africa Union Commission and other regional leadership forums on guidance to support implementation of the Malabo declaration.

Executive Summary

The overall goal of the FSP program is to promote inclusive agricultural productivity growth, improved nutritional outcomes, and enhanced livelihood resilience for men and women through improved policy environments. The goal will be achieved by fostering credible, inclusive, transparent and sustainable policy processes at country and regional levels and filling critical policy evidence gaps. The second full year of FSP implementation was also motivated by the Malabo Declaration goals of doubling smallholder productivity and tripling intra‐African trade by 2025 as a means to accelerate poverty reduction. The Leader Award supported design and implementation of two new associate in Nigeria and Senegal, building on lessons learned from associate awards launched in Burma and Malawi during the first year of FSP.

Activities in West Africa have focused on supporting ECOWAS to establish a regional agriculture joint sector review (JSR).
The JSR represents a key instrument for supporting mutual accountability and implementing the CAADP result framework. It allows a broad spectrum of stakeholders to contribute to overall policies and priorities in the agricultural sector. Through FSP, MSU and IFPRI are contributing to an assessment of the agricultural sector performance in collaboration with national and regional experts. Workshops were held in June and July to discuss the support required by ECOWAS from various technical partners: key outcomes included a roadmap, work plan and common indicators for the regional JSR. FSP also coordinated reviews of the regional seed, fertilizer, pesticide and veterinary drug policies.

These reviews fed into the broader process designed to address gaps and weaknesses in terms of technical and institutional capacity and promote best practices in the sector. The findings will be incorporated in the JSR report to be presented at the ECOWAP10 Conference to be held in Dakar November 17‐19, 2015.

Rice is the most widely traded food commodity In West Africa. A regional model to simulate the impacts of the regional rice self‐sufficiency policy on trade, poverty and food security was expanded to include seven countries. ECOWAS is the main user of the regional rice model to inform and guide its regional rice program (rice production targets and proposed investment levels). The model was also used to assess the effects of the Ebola crisis on food security in Guinea. This timely analysis is relevant for the JSR process in Guinea as it will help inform the establishment of baselines for key indicators to be monitored through the country’s JSR.

In Ghana, a joint MSU‐IFPRI‐IFDC‐AFAP team developed proposals for an integrated soil fertility program for Ghana and discussed these with the Minister of Agriculture as well as with a convening of public and private sector stakeholders in Accra presided over by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

In Mali, FSP completed preliminary reviews of the seed and fertilizer system and piloted a multiple‐visit household survey to generate evidence on input access, utilization and productivity impacts in relation to subsidy costs. FSP launched a new associate award funded by USAID Nigeria to strengthen the capacity of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and expand engagement with university‐based applied policy researchers.

The FSP project in East and Southern Africa has been active in support of New Alliance policy commitments in Malawi and Tanzania. In Malawi, the FSP team facilitated broad stakeholder consultation on the proposed National Agricultural Policy, resulting in a much improved relationship between civil society and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD). The team contributed to reviews of seed, fertilizer and contract farming policies and provided the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD) with reform options for parastatal marketing and the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP). Significant changes were subsequently introduced to reduce the FISP program cost and improve transparency. FSP has strengthened the capacity of Ministry staff and promoted interest in planning additional courses for policymakers and journalists.

In Tanzania, FSP broke the deadlock between proponents and opponents to a key new alliance policy commitment, reform of Local Government Authority (LGA) crop taxation (cess). The combination of an FSP‐led LGA study to provide new empirical analysis on the incidence and consequences of the current tax system, combined with vigorous and targeted policy outreach, built consensus among all stakeholders for lower and harmonized crop cess rates. Following review by an inter‐ministerial committee a white paper is now ready for submission to the President and Parliament for approval. FSP used this reform process to build capacity for policy analysis and stakeholder engagement by working with government staff in every stage of the LGA crop cess study and related policy outreach activities. As part of this reform effort, FSP worked with LGA officials to coordinate the development and pilot phase of an e‐payment system for crop cess collection to improve tax collection efficiency, reduce potential for corruption, and increase compliance. A directive has been issued to implement this system in all 166 LGAs. See Appendix A for more details on these two policy reform successes.

In Burma, FSP works closely with civil society organizations to build their capacity for evidence‐based policy analysis and advocacy. Lack of information on the organization and performance of agriculture and the rural economy is a major constraint on guiding public policy and investment. FSP partners with the Myanmar Development Resource Institute‐ Centre for Economic and Social Development to study under‐appreciated sectors such as aquaculture (the country’s fastest growing source of fish protein) and pulses (the largest agricultural export in volume and value terms) to unlock their growth potential. The studies have also been utilized by government and donors to develop recovery strategies following this year’s extensive flood damage in central and lower Burma. FSP and MDRI‐CESD undertook a household level rural livelihoods survey in Mon State as a basis for a rural development strategy to support the government’s decentralization efforts. In collaboration with the Food Security Working Group, FSP undertook training for 30 participants in policy analysis and advocacy methods to increase civil society organizations ability to engage with government on policy change (See appendix A for more details on this success story).

Understanding the political economy context and institutional architecture constraints for policy reform are critical to the design of successful policies and reform processes. FSP conducts global collaborative research and outreach to inform best practices in policy process and capacity building. The innovative conceptual framework developed during year 1 was applied to case studies of policy change – three each on fertilizer and micronutrient policy. A toolkit for analysis of policy systems is being developed for use by USAID country missions and FSP country teams. An inventory of innovations in policy institutional architecture has also been developed as the basis for further case studies in year 3.

Food systems, especially in Africa, are changing rapidly. Employment generation in agriculture and the food economy is an increasingly important dimension of food security. FSP analyzes upstream and downstream food system transformation in a range of countries using a structural transformation lens. Research on upstream transformation has looked at sustainable intensification challenges (including fertilizer and seed policy), and changing land dynamics and their effect on mechanization and rural employment. This research has yielded paradigm shifting findings, especially on farm size in Africa (see Appendix A) that have been widely shared through conferences and publications as well as consultations with country ministries and other planning authorities. Similar progress has been attained on the understanding the dynamics of diet change associated with urbanization on linkages to producers and processors.

In addition to global research and engagement FSP provides demand driven strategic analytic support to USAID, national governments and other key stakeholders. This support has focused on support to the Africa Union Commission and other regional leadership forums on guidance to support implementation of the Malabo declaration.

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