A Food Systems Strengthening Conceptual Framework

By: Heidi Busse   Wellington Jogo  

Agricultural advances have strengthened many national economies, but have failed to achieve broader benefits from food systems: improved food security and nutrition, ecological sustainability, economic viability of small- and medium-sized farms, social justice and equity. With many determinants influencing diets and food security, systems strengthening approaches are needed to design coherent, multi-sectoral initiatives to achieve multiple benefits from agriculture. Our three study objectives were to: Characterize the sweet potato value chain in Ethiopia; Analyze factors influencing the value chain; and Design a systems-strengthening plan to scale out project activities. Participants were recruited from six districts in two regions of Ethiopia. Qualitative data were collected from 12 focus group discussions (FGDs) in June-July 2015, with a total of 98 participants. Trained facilitators conducted FGDs in the local language. Data were coded into the following six core systems strengthening areas and analyzed for frequency: human resources, finance, governance, information, technology, and service delivery. Analyses revealed three bottlenecks that limited systems strengthening activities. These included the lack of: governance systems to integrate community-level mobilization with regional-level policy-making platforms (vertical integration); technology systems to facilitate sharing across agencies and a workforce with capacity to implement multi-sectoral projects (horizontal integration); and information from applied research to assess whether projects succeed in improving nutrition and broader community development outcomes (local data for decision-making). Findings from this study informed design of a conceptual model to integrate agricultural value chains and knowledge management strategies, tools, and processes that may yield greater benefits from food systems.

Food and Nutrition Policy, Community Food Systems, Multi-sectoral Approaches, Africa
Food, Politics, and Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Heidi Busse

-, -, University of Wisconsin, United States
Wisconsin, United States

Dr. Wellington Jogo