Research & Development Programme
Home / Projects / FoodAfrica / Programme Description
The Food Africa Programme is Improving Food Security in Western and Eastern Africa

Agriculture has a vital significance for sub-Saharan African countries, as it is the biggest economic sector throughout the area, and a majority of the population gains livelihood through farming. A great potential for economical development and better well being of people lies in agriculture.

Africa holds a rich and varied biodiversity. For example, it has been estimated that approximate 1000 different vegetables grow in the continent. Africa’s wildlife and especially big mammals are well known but the continent is also rich in livestock: According to Livestock Data in Africa 25 percent of the world’s sheep and 16 percent of the cattle live in Africa.

The other side of the coin however shows poverty and problems in food security caused by lack of investment in agricultural development, erosion, effects of climate change, population growth, and increased food prices. Major part of agriculture is subsistence farming.

Sustainable food production through research and capacity building

Several studies show that investing in agricultural research in developing countries is one of the most cost effective ways to increase sustainable food production. Research based knowledge enables detection of methods for enhancing food production, access to food, food safety and nutrition.

This is exactly what the FoodAfrica Programme aims to achieve.

The overall objective of FoodAfrica is to reduce poverty and improve food security in Western and East Africa. This is done by enhancing the capacity of local researchers and research institutes and by producing new knowledge and tools for researchers, decision makers and farmers to improve local food security.

The emphasis is on high quality research that produces concrete outcomes to benefit a wide range of beneficiaries in the food supply chain and other relevant stakeholders.

Six countries and seven work packages 

The FoodAfrica Programme is implemented in six Western and Eastern African countries: Benin, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, and Uganda. The Programme consists of three thematic components: sustainable food production, food safety and nutrition, and market access and extension.

The Programme will be implemented in seven work packages that concentrate on certain areas and countries. The work packages are:

• WP1: Strengthening capacity for diagnosis and management of soil micronutrient deficiencies in Sub Saharan Africa for improved plant, animal and human nutrition
• WP2: Dairy cattle breeding in West Africa: identifying and promoting appropriate breeds and breed combinations or genotypes for small holder farmers in Senegal
• WP3: Economic analysis on technologies and targeted policies to reduce vulnerability and building resilience in Sénégal
• WP4: Enhancing food and nutrition security of vulnerable groups in communities in Benin through increased use of local agricultural biodiversity
• WP5: Measuring and mitigating the risk of mycotoxins for poor milk and maize producers and consumers in Kenya
• WP6: Improving market access and food security in Africa with information and communication technology (ICT)
• WP7: Innovative extension approaches for improving food security and livelihoods

New model for cooperation

Combining applied research with development cooperation including extensive involvement of different research centers and academic institutions is a new model for cooperation that is now piloted within the FoodAfrica Programme.

FoodAfrica will strengthen the cooperation between researchers and training/research institutions in the region and enhance efficient knowledge dissemination between African, Finnish and CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) experts.

Cooperating Partners

Food Africa is mainly funded by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) and coordinated by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). Finland is among the world’s leading countries in research and development of agriculture and food security. According to the ministry’s guidelines launched in 2010 MFA supports the development of agricultural production which improves food security of the developing countries.

CGIAR institutions have an important role in the FoodAfrica Programme, as these top research institutions already have established presence and on-going activities in many West-African countries. The participating CGIAR institutions are Bioversity International, International Food Policy Institute (IFPRI), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF).

Other research partners of the FoodAfrica Programme are the University of Helsinki, and HAMK University of Applied Sciences.

Back to FoodAfrica front page

FoodAfrica-sivut löytyvät suomeksi täältä

Title: Improving Food Security in West and East Africa through Capacity Building in Research and Information Dissemination – Food Africa
Total Budget:
11 765 000 €
Partners: Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), CGIAR institutions: Bioversity International, IFPRI, ILRI, ICRAF, University of Helsinki, and HAMK
Main funding agency:
Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (9 500 000)

To provide new knowledge and tools for the use of decision makers and local farmers for reducing absolute poverty and improving food security in Eastern and Western Africa.
• To strengthen education and research capacity of the local agricultural sector in East and West Africa, in terms of production, market performance and nutrition.
• To enhance cooperation between researchers and research and educational institutions in the region.
• To enhance knowledge dissemination between local African and Finnish experts, and experts in the CGIAR centres.
• To produce concrete guidelines for policy recommendations on food security for use by local institutions and authorities
Find the partner’s websites

Strengthening soil research

Sustainable dairy production

Agricultural practices in changing climate

Traditional foods for nutrition

Reducing risk for mycotoxins

Better market access through ICT

Innovative extension approaches

FoodAfrica-sivut suomeksi

Contact us
© Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)