The Horizon 2020 project, FoodLAND, has been awarded €7m to develop a range of innovations for agriculture and aquaculture in Africa.
The project’s main goal is to provide access to and encourage the consumption of healthy and sustainable food to those living in Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. FoodLAND’s project leader, Alma Mater Studiorum of the University of Bologna, Italy, suggests that increasing innovation for agriculture and aquaculture in Africa can further the adoption of healthy diets and combat major forms of malnutrition.
FoodLAND is adopting a bottom-up approach by basing the initiatives on producers’ and consumers’ motivations, needs, and choices. The project will draw a comprehensive picture of the nutritional needs of urban and rural populations, understanding the socio-economic, production conditions, and individual factors that determine the decisions of smallholder producers and processors. Those who own small businesses in the industries of agriculture and aquaculture in Africa will then receive assistance to foster nutrition-responsive and sustainable agro-biodiversity, while consumers will participate in a specific awareness-raising and communication campaign.
“By bridging the gap between food production and consumption, the project will reinforce the productivity and resilience of food supply chains, and will create new market opportunities on both the local and global scales”, said project coordinator Marco Setti, Professor of the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences of the University of Bologna.
FoodLAND plans to create a network of 14 local Food Hubs, paired with 14 separate cities in these countries, that will mobilise relevant actors in rural, urban, and peri-urban communities to serve as injection points for testing and introducing new innovation to those working in agriculture and aquaculture in Africa.
The 28 partners that comprise the FoodLAND consortium (18 of them are African institutions while the other ten are European) will work together to develop, implement, and validate 12 technological innovations, which include organisational and technological innovations for both vegetable and fish farming and food processing systems, together with 17 novel local food products.