Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, May 23, 2024

South-South and Triangular partnerships for agri-food system transformation

24 May 2024South-South and Triangular partnerships for agri-food system transformation

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) is organizing 3 meetings as follows:

  1. Agri-food System Transformation and Climate Change, 24 May 2024; (9.30-17.00 -London, Greenwich time)
  2. Health, (Mal)Nutrition, Diets and Food Awareness in the Agri-Food System, 31 May 2024 (9.30-
    17.00 -London, Greenwich time)
  3. (Re)Valuing Food, Generational Change and Wellness, 7 June 2024 (9.30-17.00 -London, Greenwich time)

The cross-cutting themes that will inform these meetings are:

  1. Research Approaches in the Agri-food System
  2. (In)Equity in Agri-food Systems
  3. Agri-food systems Policy and Capacity-building

Each workshop will be divided into three parts. 

  1. The first session will address the ways in which the ACU could support the efforts of its members by leveraging its experience in delivering projects and programmes to strengthen capacity, fostering international mobility through funding awards and administration, and representing the sector through policy and advocacy. ACU is well-placed to facilitate capacity strengthening given its extensive experience delivering transformative educational and research opportunities, brokering national and global partnerships, and strengthening institutional capacity through individual, institutional, and inter-institutional support.

    Shared resources: 

    Ramdas, S. R., & Pimbert, M. P. (2024) A cog in the capitalist wheel: co-opting agroecology in South IndiaThe Journal of Peasant Studies, 1–23.
    • Despite claims to the contrary, APCNF is locked in an unchanged productivist paradigm controlled by capital in collaboration with the state. By co-opting agroecology, APCNF closes down options for a just transformation of the dominant agri-food regime.
    • See also PAEPARD blogpost: Opinion: The utilitarian approach of agroecology

    Levidow (2018) Sustainable Intensification: Agroecological Appropriation or Contestation?
    For at least the past decade, global institutions have been promoting sustainable intensification
    (SI) to raise yields with less environmental harm through a broad ‘toolkit’ including
    agroecological methods. In the European context, agri-intensification has diverse forms and
    policy agendas.

  2. The second session of the workshop will focus on further distilling cluster research topics under each of the themes identified for each meeting. Here, the aim is to gain a better understanding of pressing issues that require research attention and the ways in which loosely formed clusters could aid in their advancement through clearly identifiable and achievable steps and goals within the ACU’s purview.
  3. The third session of the meeting will engage with what we call ‘Critical and Transformational Pedagogies and Experiential, Place-based, and Global Learning in/of the Agri-food System’. Here, we expect to engage in a discussion around pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning about the agri-food system, curriculum-building, fostering critical thinking, and sharing best practice among others.


In partnership with FAO, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) is running a one-year pilot programme to develop a researchers’ network (RESNET) to address complex and multifaceted issues underpinning agri-food system transformation.

The vision for RESNET is a global platform designed to facilitate South-South and Triangular Cooperation on agri-food system research. Triangular Cooperation involves Southern-driven partnerships between two or more developing countries supported by a developed country(ies)/or multilateral organisation(s) to implement development cooperation programmes and projects.

The aim is to stimulate learning, problem-solving and co-production of knowledge in this area. The programme will involve bringing universities and cross-disciplinary academics together, as well as research centres and relevant bodies from across the Commonwealth, and beyond.

RESNET supports capacity strengthening, knowledge sharing, and the formation of South-South and Triangular Research clusters on agri-food systems transformation. This approach reflects the interests of ACU members whose research seeks to explore the many, interconnected factors shaping agri-food systems transformation at different scales and in different locations.

In February 2024, the ACU held its first stakeholder engagement meeting attended by agri-food systems researchers across the UK, and in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Singapore, and South Africa. During this meeting, several issues were discussed related to inequity in the agri-food system, research approaches, and multi-level agri-food system policy. Inequity in the agri-food system and capacity strengthening were identified as cross-cutting themes in the development of RESNET beyond the pilot phase.

In the remainder of RESNET’s pilot phase, the ACU will hold three stakeholder consultations with agri-food systems researchers across the Commonwealth and beyond, including one in May 2024 on agri-food systems transformation and climate change. This process will allow us to continue to refine the mission, vision and activities associated with RESNET should it be extended beyond the pilot phase.


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