Food4Cities : Exploring food system transformations in rapidly changing African cities

Project identifier 56-FOOD4CITIES
Project Status ongoing
Start date 2018-09-01
End date 2021-08-31
Roadmap Theme
  • Agriculture and food systems for nutrition: PPP on improved nutritional quality
  • Agriculture and food systems for nutrition: Improved food value chains
  • Expansion and improvement of agricultural markets and trade: Bio-economic strategies
  • Type of Project Applied research project
    Type of Project Strengthening partnerships and alignment projects
    Programme LEAP-Agri
    Keyword Urban food systems; Urban nutrition security; Nutritious value chain; Participatory planning
    Location Uganda; South Africa
    Budget 765 000
    Main Funder ERA-Net Cofund (LEAP-Agri)
    Co Funder Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) (H2020)
    Coordinator VU Amsterdam
  • Makerere University
  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
  • KU Leuven
  • WWF South Africa
  • Stellenbosch University
  • Project Web Site
  • LEAP-Agri Projects information booklet
  • Description


    Food insecurity and malnutrition, once restricted mainly to rural areas, are spreading rapidly in Africa’s expanding cities. Conventional production-based responses from the agricultural sector will not ensure nutrition security in these cities, without also considering drivers that affect food access, affordability and stability. A much more systemic perspective of city food systems is needed, from sustainable production through to consumption, and understanding functional cross-scale linkages along this pathway. Appropriate city planning and policy can play a major role in this endeavour, driving more sustainable and resilient food systems across the urban, peri-urban and rural food landscape. Yet food systems and nutrition security are distinctly lacking in most African city planning and policy. To address this gap, this project aims to promote sustainable and nutrition-secure city food systems by developing knowledge and tools for local and national development planning. The project focuses on two African cities (Kampala and Cape Town), and is built around four objectives: knowledge co-production and participatory planning, characterising city food systems, modelling current food system dynamics and exploring alternative futures, and collaborative planning. The project has a strong conceptual foundation in food systems analysis and modelling. It employs a range of scientific methodologies such as spatial analysis, systems-dynamics and value-chain modelling, trade-offs in bundles of ecosystem services, integrated social, economic and ecological assessment, scenario planning, and transformative pathways analysis. Importantly, the technical science is embedded in a knowledge co-production and participatory planning process to promote uptake of the information by end users and scale impact of the science.  

    Main objectives:

    The project aims to promote sustainable, inclusive and nutrition-secure city food systems by developing knowledge and tools for local and national development planning. It accomplishes this through the following objectives:

    1. Develop model(s) to link within-city food systems to the broader landscape
    2. Co-develop alternative food scenarios
    3. Evaluate scenarios in terms of food and nutrition outcomes + equitable ecosystem benefit flows and economies
    4. Design interventions for local and national development planning, which highlight multiple co-benefits
    5. Reflect on case study lessons for scaling impact elsewhere