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Water, Land, Ecosystems and Trade in Staples: using regional trade in staples for equitable food and nutrition security, and ecosystem services in the EAC (WaLETS)

Funder: CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems Program - the International Water Management Institute.
Status: Started January, 2015 and ends in December, 2016

Context


WaLETS is a research project that aims to investigate which, what and how policies and investments in the EAC can prioritise ecosystem services and trade based approaches to food security. In addition, the project will assess the current status and ways of empowering women and youth in order to maximize their contribution to food and nutrition security as well as wealth creation objectives at national and regional levels. This first phase of the project started in January 2015 and is be led by Kilimo Trust in a consortium that includes the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO formerly KARI), the Tanzania Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).

This project complements the core business of Kilimo Trust that is to “contribute to the transformation of food and nutrition security in the EAC region away from high risk subsistence farming into lower risk trade-based systems’ – with a vision to see: i) specialization in production of staples with effective utilization of agro-ecological comparative advantages by smallholder producers who are “farming as business” in a competitive way; ii) a structured regional trade in food staples driven by the private sector business linkages for each commodity; and iii) a high proportion of food commodities (especially perishables) produced in the EAC, being transformed to differentiated value-added products preferred by the final consumer.

Project Outputs The project has 3 main research outputs that include:

  • Gap in public policy and institutional frameworks, and public and private investment strategies and plans; in the EAC with respect to:
    1. balancing attention between food and other ecosystem services especially, water flow (quality and quantity) out of land used for production of staples, erosion prevention and enhancement of soil fertility, and carbon sequestration;
    2. enhancing the involvement of women and youth in policy development and equitable access to benefits in the production and trading in food staples;
    3. enhancing food and nutrition security through trade between major agro-ecosystems at regional scale rather than through national and/or community self-sufficiency.


  • GIS database and maps on:
    1. agro-ecosystem suitability and extent of matching differences in resource endowment with and use for the production of staple foods and other ecosystem services; and
    2. the optimal trade-supporting infrastructure required to support regional trade in staple foods, across different agro-ecosystems..


  • Scenario analysis results and recommendations with respect to:
    1. long-term benefits, risks and trade-offs; and
    2. a win-win value proposition for all stakeholders to “crowd-in” the right/correct strategies and investments of governments; development funders and the private sector - in support of more trade-based.

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