Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture: A pathway to strengthening resilience of agro-food systems on the continent.

Main theme for the 18th CAADP PP

This year the CAADP PP is being planned within the context of the African Union Theme for 2022: Strengthening resilience in nutrition and food security on the African continent: Strengthening agro-food systems, health, and social protection systems for the acceleration of human, social and economic capital development.

This 2022 theme builds on the 2021 theme, Ending hunger in Africa by 2025 through resilient food systems. The themes are closely related – indicating the urgent need to act on concerns and issues around resilient food and nutrition systems on the continent.

Considering the above, the 18th CAADP PP will be held under the theme Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture: A pathway to strengthening resilience of agro-food systems on the continent. This theme invokes sub-thematic areas to inform policy and technical dialogue, messaging, media content and recommendations.

The sub-themes will allow for a deeper analysis of the different aspects of building resilience in nutrition on the African continent. Specifically, in the areas of accelerating agricultural human capital and economic development. For the 18th CAADP-PP, four sub-themes have been identified.

Sub-theme 1: Upscaling food bio-fortification in Africa with reference to the Declaration on Food Fortification and Bio-Fortification

Technical Lead – HarvestPlus


The 2nd African Union (AU) Specialized Technical Committee (STC) Meeting on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment held in October 2017 endorsed bio-fortification under STC/ARDWE/MIN49. The Committee stated that bio-fortification complements industrial fortification, supplementation, and dietary diversity, and bio-fortification has great potential to significantly contribute to the AU Malabo Declaration goal of reducing stunting and underweight rates by 10 per cent and 5 per cent respectively, by 2025. Bio-fortification is recognised as a natural, cost-effective, and sustainable solution to reducing micronutrient malnutrition in Africa. The 35th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly, held in February 2022, endorsed, and adopted the Declaration on Food Fortification and Bio-fortification.

This sub-theme will provide an opportunity for stakeholders and partners to discuss progress made to date. As well as any impact bio-fortification may have on reducing mortality and morbidity rates related to micronutrient malnutrition. It will allow for knowledge sharing by both the private and public sector and engagement at both technical and policy levels. It will focus on the sustainability of bio-fortification, and strategies for enhancing bio-fortification as an option for reducing malnutrition on the continent. Additionally, consideration for implementation will be sourced from the recommendations of the High-Level Dialogue on Food Fortification held last year, 2021.

Sub-theme 2: Promotion of orphan crops and indigenous foods in view of their importance in nutrition security

Technical Lead – FAO,

Co-Leaders -IFPRI, ILRI and ICRISAT.

Orphan crops and indigenous vegetables are typically grown and eaten as part of local diets and are not traded internationally. They tend to get less attention in terms of research, agricultural training and even advisory services. As a result, the breeding technology for these crops is considerably lagging modern technology. Consequently, the seeds farmers plant are less likely to be resilient to drought, flooding, or extreme temperatures and are often lower in productivity.

This sub-theme will discuss what the continent needs to undertake and invest in to support the production, conservation and wider use of orphan and indigenous crops for enhanced food and nutrition security. It will explore strategies to increase resilience of orphan and indigenous crops to climate change and shocks and to ensure they are safe to provide food and nutrition security.

The sub-theme will also explore ways to decrease post-harvest losses and increase productivity. Orphan and indigenous crops also have medicinal properties that can go a long way to improve healthy diets. Such strategies may include: i) scientific research and innovation, ii) improving seed systems, improving advisory services, iii) preservation and protection of traditional knowledge, and iv) agro-processing and marketing strategies for these orphan and indigenous crops.

Sub-theme 3: Home-grown school-feeding programs for improved food nutrition

Technical Lead – WFP

Co-leaders - AUC ESTI and UNICEF.

School feeding programs have been recognized by African leaders for their contribution to human resources and capital development in the continent. They have been noted to play an important role in inclusive development, health, rural development, gender equality and inclusive education- particularly for the poor and socially marginalised communities.

The programs aim to address hunger, contribute to nutritional status, improve school performance and learning outcomes, and increase the cognitive function and academic performance of the learners.

The 2016 AU Assembly Decision (Assembly/AU/Dec 589), called for the establishment and promotion of school feeding programs. Seven years since this call, this sub-theme will provide the status on the school feeding programs in the continent. It will examine their impact toward the achievement of the Malabo objective of ending hunger and particularly malnourishment in the school-going children. It will focus on proposing agricultural interventions and strategies for enhancing progress toward increasing the nutritional status of children on the continent. It will also examine the main capacity needs required to ensure an effective implementation of the intended strategic actions proposed. Such capacity needs could be institutional and organizational, statistical, research oriented, financial or even food system related.

Sub-theme 4: Role of Research, Innovation and Education in nutrition-sensitive agriculture for sustainable agricultural development pathways

Technical Lead – IFPRI, AK2063,


Research and education are a necessary ingredient to understand the role of diet and individual food components on normal growth and development. The negative impact and loss of human capital resulting from undernutrition in early childhood, is estimated to reduce a nation's economic advancement by at least 8 per cent (in terms of GDP)[1].

This sub-theme will explore options for research and innovation interventions that will help to provide promising solutions appropriate to scale in a cost-effective manner. The sub-theme will also discuss options for accelerated growth of relevant agricultural human capital, and agricultural economic development. Furthermore, this sub theme will identify development pathways in agriculture that stimulate both commercially viable (climate-smart) agriculture and improve the production and consumption of nutritious foods. It will further discuss nutrition sensitive agriculture to advance gender equality in agriculture.

In line with tradition, thematic focus group discussions will be organized along the sub-themes of the PP and run-in parallel sessions to deliver on a set of recommendations translated into actions to advance the CAADP PP theme of the year. A lead presentation will be made to help frame the discussion in each of the groups. Individual groups will be requested to report in the plenary, and policy action-oriented discussions will ensue.