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Making Agri-Food Systems Work for the Rural Poor in Eastern & Southern Africa


Executive summary

The overall objective of the project ‘Making agri-food systems work for the rural poor in Eastern and Southern Africa’ was to improve food security and promote sustainable management of natural resources through enhanced adoption of pro-poor agri-food system innovations. To achieve this goal, the project aimed at achieving the following four specific objectives; (i) to identify and promote local innovations and adaptation strategies that work for the poor rural men and women to cope with food security vulnerabilities; (ii) to adapt and scale up technologies and market innovations for promoting orphan crops that enhance food security, increase incomes and ecosystem integrity in selected areas of Malawi, Kenya and Uganda; (iii) to analyze and promote specific policies and governance mechanisms for sustainable agri-food systems; and (iv) to determine mechanisms for scaling up agri-food systems and sustainable agriculture. The project was implemented in 3 countries, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda with the participation of five partner institutions, i.e., National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Uganda; Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Kenya; Bunda College of Agriculture, Malawi; Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), Uganda; and Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development (TEGEMEO), Kenya. ASARECA’s main task was to coordinate regional activities and provide a platform for the participating countries and institutions to share lessons. Over the project implementation period, ASARECA facilitated a series of regional meetings to discuss among other issues a common approach to project implementation, monitoring and evaluation, management of knowledge and communication products and final regional fora to disseminate the research findings. In addition, ASARECA organized two sets of training courses on scientific writing and communication, which were attended by the scientists from the participating institutions. To enable the project partners widely disseminate the research findings, ASARECA provided a platform at its 2nd General Assembly where over 16 papers were presented not only from this particular project but also papers based on findings from other IDRC supported projects in the region (Annex II). Overall, the project has demonstrated that orphan crops have the potential to diversify the farming systems, spread risks, contribute to food security, and provide income opportunities for the most vulnerable and women in particular. .