NOURICITY : Partnerships For Healthy Diets And Nutrition In Urban African Food Systems – Evidence And Strategies

Project identifier 55-NOURICITY
Project Status ongoing
Start date 2018-09-01
End date 2021-08-31
Roadmap Theme
  • Agriculture and food systems for nutrition: Improved food value chains
  • Agriculture and food systems for nutrition: Consumer behaviour and education
  • Type of Project Applied research project
    Programme LEAP-Agri
    Keyword Urban nutrition security; Urban food systems; Food choices
    Location Ghana; Uganda; South Africa
    Main Funder ERA-Net Cofund (LEAP-Agri)
    Co Funder Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) (H2020)
    Coordinator University of Bonn
  • Wageningen Research
  • University of Ghana
  • University of Western Cape
  • Project Web Site
    Documents LEAP-Agri Projects information booklet



    Africa’s cities are expanding, with adverse consequences for food and nutrition security of an increasing share of their population. In urban Africa, malnutrition is a complex issue related to factors including the middle class’ growing purchasing power, but also poverty, poor health environments and insufficient access to safe, quality food. African urban food systems and their rural-urban value chains are characterized by the intersecting formal and informal food sectors: small scale producers, transporters, processors and retailers provide a multitude of food products, the composition, quality and final destination of which is largely undocumented. This project aims at investigating the structure and dynamics of urban food systems in Africa (including ruralurban food value chains), to reveal the co-existence of different facets of malnutrition and their drivers, for a transect of poor to moderately wealthy countries, settlements and neighborhoods, and to develop partnerships for coherent, nutrition-sensitive policies. To that end, the project will rely on participatory research with stakeholders of the food system in selected urban study sites in Ghana, South Africa and Uganda. In particular, the project will describe the systemic drivers of food choices, by mapping the formal and informal urban food sectors, their interactions and rural linkages, and by tracking urban food sources and their characteristics. Second, the project will examine individual drivers of food choices: income, access to nutrition-related knowledge, or food tastes, habits and culture. Finally, researchers will assess the impacts of systemic and individual drivers of food choices on people’s actual consumption and nutrition outcomes. Together with nutrition and public health practitioners and the identified actors of the three local food systems, they will devise and test policy scenarios to develop a blueprint for partnerships seeking improved urban nutrition in Africa.

    Main objectives:

    This project aims to impact the nutrition of the urban poor in Africa. This is achieved by gathering and analyzing missing evidence on African urban food systems (UFS) to outline a partnership concept for effective interventions in the food environment of the urban poor in a participatory process.  The research will investigate:

    a) urban food sources, characteristics and rural-urban linkages as “systemic” drivers of food choices and nutrition

    b) people’s access to nutrition-related knowledge (formal and informal, indigenous and Western), income, food tastes, habits and culture, as “individual” drivers of food choices

    c) how systemic and individual drivers combine to determine people’s food consumption and nutrition status.