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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

We mobilise people and resources to create, curate, make sense of and use knowledge to inform policymaking across Europe.

Projects and activities | 17 Jun 2019

STEP-UP - Sustainable Transition to Entrepreneurial Production in Agriculture trough Upgrading

Brief me

Rural food value chains (FVC) in sub-Saharan Africa experience various challenges to implement food securing innovations. In the framework of the ERA-net co-fund strategy the European Commission raised the LEAP-Agri call for “Research and Innovation for food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture in Africa and Europe”. The STEP-UP network of 10 research institutes and other organisations from Europe and Africa will collaborate in four countries. Through sustainable intensification (SI) and market linkage (ML) strategies STEP-UP will enable small farm enterprises (SFEs) to step up towards food and nutrition security, sustainable development and income generation at farm and community levels. In mango and banana FVC in Kenya and Uganda new technologies in breeding, processing, packaging and conversion will be implemented and assessed through a participatory multi-stakeholder approach. The core STEP-UP activities are

  1. Screening the banana and mango FVC with consortium experts and stakeholders,
  2. Participatory development of food system transition pathways and entry points for SFEs with high potential to create added value via knowledge, labor and monetary (re-) investments,
  3. Selection and adaptation of effective SI and ML strategies, based on a multi-criteria, participatory assessment of their impact using indicators developed by experts and multi-level stakeholders,
  4. Delivering evidence-based advice and decision support tools for outscaling of SI and ML strategies to other regions and food systems,
  5. Knowledge exchange and capacity building of FVC stakeholders.

In Uganda we focus on SI strategies to increase crop production and evaluate how markets can best respond. In Kenya we focus on ML strategies to pull (re-) investment in SI to a higher level. Across the study sites and FVCs, a dynamic monitoring system will enable co-learning and adaptive project management. Understanding the dynamics between SI and ML in different food systems will result in standards and procedures to reduce farmers´ and entrepreneurs´ risks. SFEs and FVC intermediaries in the case study areas will benefit from improved knowledge, skills and capacities to sustainably upgrade their activities. Decision makers will have a clear view about desired transitions and how to enable them.