Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, April 3, 2020

Sustainable food systems through diversification and indigenous vegetables: An analysis of the Arusha area

Paulina Bizzotto Molina, Cecilia D’Alessandro, Koen Dekeyser and Marta Marson, Sustainable food systems through diversification and indigenous vegetables: An analysis of the Arusha area
ECDPM paper, March 2020, 136 pages

Diversification is a key element of making food systems more resilient. One way to diversify is to better integrate indigenous vegetables into the food system. Indigenous vegetables are generally highly nutritious, potentially require fewer natural resources, and can lead to higher profit margins. 

Despite their potential, indigenous vegetables are routinely neglected by policymakers and they risk disappearing from plots and plates. There is limited information on the factors and actors that are currently hindering the benefits of indigenous vegetables to materialise, and how governance and policy can support indigenous vegetables in diverse contexts.

Our governance analysis, highlighting key actors and their interlinkages and unpacking drivers and constraints of indigenous vegetables integration, led to the identification of several entry points for stronger integration of indigenous vegetables in Arusha. In collaboration with local stakeholders, we charted four ‘pathways for change’ by describing their likely benefits, possible drawbacks or trade-offs, and key actors to be involved. These four pathways for solutions are:
  • Stronger value chain governance through a multi-stakeholder platform
  • Better informed farmers’ choices by including indigenous vegetables in extension officers' curricula
  • Improved food safety and reduced loss along the chain
  • Greater food knowledge about indigenous vegetables through information campaigns.
This is the second report of the Sustainable Agrifood Systems Strategies (SASS) Programme, a consortium programme involving ECDPM and four Italian Universities: the University of Milano-Bicocca, the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, the University of Pavia and the University of Gastronomic Sciences. 

Between 2017 and 2020, the SASS programme, funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR), aims to build knowledge, policy dialogue and partnerships contributing to sustainable food systems at national, regional and international levels, based on three research locations: the Arusha area in Northern Tanzania, Iringa/Kongwa in Southern/Central Tanzania, and the Naivasha basin area in Kenya.

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