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Options and opportunities to make food value chains more environmentally sustainable and resilient in Sub-Saharan Africa

August 2017

Knaepen, H. Rampa, F., Torres, C., Bizzotto Molina, P. 2017. Options and opportunities to make food value chains more environmentally sustainable and resilient in Sub-Saharan Africa. New York: UNDP.

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Agricultural food value chains (VCs) are gaining importance as part of broader efforts to achieve food security and improve nutrition, as well as transforming African agriculture and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With an increased focus on inputs, markets, financing, agribusiness, and agro-industry, the prospects of commercialization for smallholder farmers will likely expand and involve all major food staples. While much has been done to understand and document good practices that generate global environmental benefits in production landscapes, such knowledge is limited or lacking for food VCs in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

This study provides an overview of the key continental, regional and national frameworks and policies to promote sustainable and resilient food VCs in SSA, as well as examining their effectiveness. It identifies good practices required for the transition towards sustainable and resilient food VCs in SSA, based on the assessment of negative environmental impacts and externalities, with a focus on six VCs: livestock (meat and dairy), rice, cassava, maize, pulses and mango VCs in several dryland countries, including Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda. Furthermore, the study identifies incentives and enforcement mechanisms for various stakeholders to make food VCs environmentally sustainable and resilient in SSA, with a special focus on supporting smallholder farmers and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Drawing on all these lessons learned, it concludes with a ‘Four-Pillar Framework for Action’ towards holistic and systemic change.

The study was conceptualised, technically implemented and commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Regional Service Centre for Africa (RSCA), Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development Cluster (IGSD) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

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Le résumé analytique en français est disponible ici.

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Sustainable food systemsContributing DocumentSustainable food systemsValue chainsAfrica