A NEW research project is about to be launched in Zambia by the World Agroforestry Centre (WAC) whose aim is to boost food security by engaging smallholder farmers with markets.
WAC communications officer for Eastern and Southern Africa region, Albert Mwangi said the project was aimed at developing value chain innovation platforms to improve food security in East and Southern Africa.
Mr Mwangi said the centre in partnership with the governments of Uganda and Zambia would implement the project through a multi-disciplinary partnership of international and national institutions
He said developing value chain innovation platforms to improve food security was a four-year (2015-2019) project.
He said innovation platforms had been identified as avenues to convene different stakeholders to identify solutions to common problems or to achieve common goals.
“The project will identify best fit value chain development strategies and market information delivery systems, and examine their influence on the success of value chain innovation platforms in enhancing rural enterprise development,” he said.
Mr Mwangi said the project’s overall objective was to identify principles and drivers that could support innovation platforms to improve food security by connecting more smallholder farmers with markets.
“It will focus more on enabling youth and women improve their livelihoods, with other objectives that will assess smallholder livelihoods, institutional arrangements across scales, and identify drivers that enable value chain innovation platforms development for sustainable agriculture commercialization,” he said.
He said the innovative platforms consisted of a network of organizations, enterprises and individuals that focuses on bringing new products, new processes and new forms of organization into economic use, together with the institutions and policies that affect their behaviour and performance.