Promoting food security in rural Sub-Saharan Africa: The role of agricultural intensification, social security and results-oriented approaches

This research project aims to analyze how development cooperation can contribute to increase food security in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). A major focus is on the role of sustainable agricultural intensification and social security considering the heterogeneity of the rural population in SSA and the special circumstances of fragile states. Furthermore, the project also explores how the results orientation of food security interventions can be improved. This research project is conducted by staff members of DIE's departments I, II, III, IV and V.

Project Lead:
Michael Brüntrup

Project Team:
Francesco Burchi
Raoul Herrmann
Sarah Holzapfel
Heiner Janus
Mockshell, Jonathan
Daniel Nowack
Benjamin Schraven
Christoph Strupat

Financing:
Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Time Frame:
2015 - 2017 / completed

Project description

The DIE research project aims to analyze how development cooperation can contribute to increase food security in the rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Special emphasis is put on the role of sustainable agricultural intensification and social security to promote food security while recognizing that different approaches may be needed in fragile state contexts. It is explicitly acknowledged that the rural population is not homogeneous and has differentiated development potentials and support needs (rural worlds). In line with the aid effectiveness agenda, the project also explores how the results orientation of food security interventions can be improved. This research project is conducted by staff members of DIE's departments I, II, III, IV and V.
In carrying out its research the project’s researchers engage at the policy level (e.g. workshops, policy briefs), with development cooperation (accompanying research) as well as in academic debates (conferences, journals) while seeking to explore synergies by being active in all these spheres. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is closely linked to the ministry’s special initiative “One World, No Hunger”.
The project is divided in eight work packages:

  1. Conceptual framework: sustainable food security in rural Sub-Saharan Africa
    This work package aims to develop an overarching conceptual model of sustainable food security in rural SSA. The model will describe relevant economic, social and environmental dimensions, typical rural sub-groups as well as interdependencies, synergies and tradeoffs between dimensions and interdependencies of actors with regards to food security (e.g. markets for food and employment, social networks).
  2. Agricultural growth corridors within the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition
    This work package deals with the controversies surrounding the impact of agricultural growth corridors. Amongst others, such corridors are discussed to be hijacked by and to attract large agro-industries and land acquisitions. This may have an adverse impact on land tenure, land and water quality, women, micro and small retailers and ultimately on food security. While this research focuses on the Nacala corridor in Mozambique, it also gathers lessons learned from the GMS East West Economic Corridor in South East Asia with the aim of providing recommendations on what an inclusive corridor development approach needs to consider.
  3. Agro-ecological support of subsistence-oriented farms
    This work package focuses on the agricultural support of subsistence oriented and smallholder farmers. Agro-ecological technologies often dominate these approaches, which many NGOs claim to be a counter model to agro-industrial value chain approaches. Main research questions are: Which technologies and measures are actually supported by NGOs and what are main challenges? Which population groups are addressed and to what degree? What are impacts on food security? How sustainable and ‘resilient’ is this agro-ecological support model?
  4. Agricultural investments and finance in small-scale agriculture
    This work package focuses on how investments in small-scale farms can be supported through agricultural finance. It specifically aims to find ways to fund smallholder farmers not (yet) well covered by formal and value chain finance. It will also analyze how other support measures, such as extension services, financial literacy training and social security products, can help such farmers become more credit-worthy and to take more risks.
  5. Promoting irrigated agriculture
    This work package deals with the role of public-private partnerships in irrigation and institutional challenges related to agricultural water management. Existing public-private partnerships for irrigation in SSA will be reviewed and the conditions for their implementation assessed. It will also analyze how SSA countries with predominantly customary land tenure systems and modern water laws deal with challenges related to protecting user-rights and natural resources.
  6. Social security systems, food security and long-term development
    This work package focuses on the role of social protection schemes (cash/food transfers, insurance schemes) to enhance food security and promote rural development in SSA. It investigates the technical and political challenges in designing and implementing these policies in rural areas, the capacity of these policies to reach both short-term objectives (food and nutrition security) and long-run objectives (investment in agriculture, accumulation of assets), and their linkages with productive policies.
  7. Fragility and its interaction with sector approaches to combating hunger
    The main objective of this work package is to understand the macro-level drivers of success in improving food access and nutrition in fragile countries as well as the micro-level challenges that fragility poses to the design, implementation, and effectiveness of food security interventions (e.g., cash or food transfers). The package will also address the questions of how to best respond to short-term emergency situations threatening food security and whether food security interventions can be used as a tool to (re)build state legitimacy.
  8. Results-based approaches and results-based management
    This work package aims to elaborate recommendations on how to improve aid effectiveness by increasing the results orientation in agricultural and food security interventions. The opportunities and risks of results-based approaches, a relatively new cooperation instrument that links payments to pre-defined results, are analyzed. The package will also explore how traditional interventions can be improved by strengthening the focus on results in planning, monitoring and evaluation.

Publications

Project Coordination

Anette Koehler-Rahm

Current Publications

The year ahead in 2019: think local when acting globally

Grimm, Sven / Axel Berger
Mitarbeiter sonstige of 19 March 2019

Rwanda makes its own rules

Klingebiel, Stephan
The Current Column of 19 March 2019

Potenziale der Blockchain-Technologie für die Handelsintegration von Entwicklungsländern

Schwab, Jakob / Jan Ohnesorge
Analysen und Stellungnahmen 4/2019

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