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Food systems transformation in Kenya: Translating evidence to policy action

Project ID
Total Funding
CAD 397,900.00
IDRC Officer
Sandra Gagnon
Project Status
30 months

Lead institution(s)



As evidenced in the last few years, food systems are highly vulnerable to global crises and shocks such as pandemics, climate extremes, and conflicts. They are placing unprecedented stresses on food systems in Africa, where countries have long struggled with widespread food insecurity and acute malnutrition with disproportionate impacts on inherently vulnerable groups such as women and children. Over the past two years, IDRC has supported several initiatives to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the CRFS Rapid Response on COVID and Food Systems. Results from the initiative showed that measures deployed by national governments to support citizens during the pandemic too often proved to be poorly targeted and failed to support critical groups such as producers, pastoralists, women, low-income groups, and informal traders. Overall, the pandemic and its associated responses exacerbated poverty and social inequality in many regions. Lessons from the pandemics show the importance of basing policies and interventions on sound evidence and on a reconfiguration of social protection and food systems to increase their short-term resilience to shocks.

This project builds on and complements the COVID and Food Systems initiative. It will strengthen Kenyan food systems by integrating existing, relevant research evidence into the country's policy action ecosystem. By proposing to focus on the transformation of food systems to make them more equitable, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable, this project will contribute to Kenya’s Agenda 2030 and Big 4 Agenda, and the African Union Maputo declaration.

The main objectives of the project are to assess and strengthen the capacity of actors across the food systems in accessing and appropriating inclusive research evidence in practice and policy; co-engage stakeholders in a systematic reflection of Kenya's food systems policy environment aimed at streamlining mutually reinforcing policies across sectors, identifying strategic pathways to action, and influencing policy; facilitate collaborative long-term knowledge exchange and amplify evidence-based and innovative solutions among food systems actors; and mobilize last mile momentum in attaining a national food systems policy with a sufficient regulatory framework for operationalising it. To achieve this, the project will assess gaps in national policies, map stakeholders and strengthen the capacity of policy and civil society actors in the food system to access and appropriate research evidence. They will accompany and engage with key policy actors for long-term knowledge exchange, amplified evidence-based policy influence and innovative solutions.

The project will be implemented by the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) in Kenya.