Innovations Session N°4

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Sustainable food systems: the key role of SMEs and businesses

The recording of the session is available in English and French on YouTube


Reconciling local and global food systems

Strengthening food systems must be an integral part of efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and to build resilience in Africa towards more sustainable and equitable ways to transform African agriculture.

While the magnitude of the issues needed to transition to sustainable food systems requires global solutions, changes and practices are local and country specific. Tradeoffs between local and global food systems need to be reached as there is not one single solution in overly complex and interdependent systems. What matters is how food is produced, processed, consumed and the role it plays for the people and the planet.

To move towards a sustainable food systems approach, managing change breaking silos and leveraging resources, as well as measuring impact, will be critical. The private sector operators need support to transition towards sustainable economies which require to change food diets and reduce food waste.

The farmers, fishers and other operators in the food chain who have already undergone the transition to sustainable practices, be in local or global markets, should be rewarded as to encourage the transition by others, and create additional opportunities for their businesses.

Increased fairness and equity along the value chains is required to succeed in transitioning towards sustainable food systems. A fair and transparent policy (open communication, fair prices, risk sharing) promoting more transparency along supply chains and better distribution of value is needed. Capacity development is key, especially for farmers groups and MSMEs, and providing support to operators in meeting required economic, social and environmental standards.

Key points for discussion on sustainable food systems

  • How African MSMEs and farmers organisations can transition towards sustainable practices and what support do they need based on the obstacles they face?
  • What incentives can be provided to smallholders and MSMEs to adopt sustainable practices?
  • What main investments and incentives from the public and private sector can accelerate the transition towards sustainable practices?
  • How to reconcile investments by the MSMEs and farmers in sustainable food systems with the imperative of economic returns and access to new markets?

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Join our Agrinnovators community forum to discuss and explore how to encourage innovations across agricultural value chains to transform food systems in Africa, promote sustainable agriculture, and leverage investment. Share insights, ask questions, and collaborate on innovative solutions for a greener future

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In French


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