Exploring Africa's Food Systems Transformation: Highlights from the 13th AGRF

Part four of a five-part series on ‘A Transformative Week for Africa’s Sustainable Future‘ featuring the week of September 4, 2023 

The 13th Africa Food Systems Forum (AGRF), held from September 5 to 8, 2023 at the Julius Nyerere International Conference Center in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, marked a significant milestone in the pursuit of sustainable agriculture and food systems on the African continent. The four-day event, with the theme, “Recover, Regenerate, Act: Africa’s Solutions to Food Systems Transformation”, brought together over 3000 attendees, featuring more than 350 speakers including prominent leaders like H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan and H.E. Ali Mwinyi.  

AGRF provided a crucial platform for leaders, policymakers, innovators, and practitioners to engage in constructive dialogues focused on the latest advancements and best practices in agriculture and food systems transformation. The discussions covered a wide range of topics, including Sustainable Livestock and Pastoralism Transformation, Food Systems Resilience in Times of Crisis, and the Green Financing Framework for Food Systems Transformation. These discussions culminated in the formulation of the summit’s Declaration, which outlines a strategic roadmap for addressing key challenges and opportunities in food systems transformation across the continent. 

One of the highlights of the forum was the Youth Innovation Awards Ceremony, where Generation Africa recognized and rewarded the contributions of young agripreneurs. Hasina Andriatsitohaina, founder and CEO of Mad’Arom in Madagascar, and Ikenna Nzewi, co-founder and CEO of Releaf Africa in Nigeria, received $50,000 each in recognition of their visionary work in shaping the future of agriculture on the continent. 

In collaboration with the Tanzania Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Dalberg Implement played a significant role in this forum, conducting a media training workshop. The workshop was designed to equip journalists with an understanding of how to report on livestock and food systems issues discussed at the Africa Food Systems Forum. This engagement was part of a year-long effort to strengthen capacity for evidence-based policy analysis, performance tracking, monitoring and evaluation, and inclusive dialogue, all aligned with the implementation of Tanzania’s Livestock Masterplan.  

Furthermore, Steve Kisakye, Partner at Dalberg Implement, moderated a session titled “Increasing Local Sourcing in Africa” hosted by IDH on September 4, 2023. The session spotlighted initiatives within the Grains for Growth Program in Ghana and Farmfit TA support program in Tanzania, as part of the Grown Sustainably in Africa (GSA) initiative. These initiatives are designed to promote local sourcing, regional trade, income generation, job creation, and inclusive growth in the grains supply chain. The session showcased how IDH is working in partnership with off-takers, state institutional buyers, service providers, SMEs, SHFs and other stakeholders to commercialize and develop an inclusive grains supply chain that is increasing local sourcing, domestic and regional trade, incomes and job creation as well as scaling business operations of SMEs and SHFs in Ghana and Tanzania. This conversation drew from a previous project in which Dalberg supported IDH and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DDE) to provide a diagnostic analysis that shed light on how to improve local sourcing for Dutch multinationals in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Ethiopia. 

Charlie Habershon, Associate Partner, Dalberg Advisors also hosted a panel consisting of leading regional experts.  Jane Ininda  of  AGRA  and  Penina Muoki  of  HarvestPlus discussed Biofortified Beans and school feeding in a session organized by Rockefeller and Dalberg. Building on research conducted by AGRA and Dalberg, the session explored the opportunities and challenges for Biofortified Beans in the region and outlined potential pathways to unlock the commercial case required to scale the value chain. 

Figure 1 Charlie Habershon, Associate Partner, Dalberg (left) hosting a panel at the AGRF 

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