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Urban agriculture for advancing healthy food systems in Ethiopia

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) cause 40-million deaths each year, equivalent to more than two-thirds of all global deaths. This is of major concern in countries like Ethiopia where NCDs exact a significant toll on public health and national economies, partly driven by a rise in unhealthy dietary patterns. Food systems lie at the intersection of nutrition, population health, environmental sustainability, and climate change. Understanding how multiple food subsystems interact with different sectors, particularly in the urban context, would make it easier to ensure access to affordable healthy diets.

The research team will be examining urban agriculture as a component for sustainable poverty reduction and environmental sustainability. The team seeks to identify how small-scale agricultural production in metropolitan areas can increase the access of the urban poor to fresh and nutritious foods, reduce “food miles”, and stabilize the market. The proposed research will explore how the newly launched urban agriculture program in Addis Ababa contributes toward healthy food systems in the city and explores how the benefits can be maximized for the urban poor. By partially reclaiming agricultural land lost to urban encroachment, the program provides an opportunity to examine the environmental impact of intensified urban food production.

This project will be implemented through national policy analyses to understand the policy drivers and influences of food systems in Ethiopia; mixed methods studies with policymakers, NGOs, agricultural and consumer cooperatives, and other key stakeholders to better understand the barriers and enablers for promoting healthy food systems; feasibility studies to explore mechanisms for integrating urban agricultural initiatives with social protection programs; and piloting and evaluation of a strategy to integrate urban agriculture with social protection programs in two sub-cities of Addis Ababa.

This project will be funded through the Catalyzing Change for Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems (CCHeFS) Initiative, a co-funding partnership between IDRC and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Project ID
Project Status
36 months
IDRC Officer
Madiha Ahmed
Total Funding
CA$ 681,800.00
Climate-Resilient Food Systems
Catalyzing change for healthy and sustainable food systems
Institution Country
Addis Ababa University