Demand-driven transformation of food systems in Africa

Field in Rwanda
Photo: Sung Kyu Kim
Event date:
September 07, 2020
9:00am - 10:30am

IDRC and The Rockefeller Foundation are co-hosting an expert panel at this year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Virtual Summit 2020. The session will explore how research can be leveraged to build healthy, equitable, and sustainable food systems through demand-driven policies and interventions.

Panel details

Over the past five decades, global food systems and human dietary patterns have changed substantially, with shifts from traditional diets predominantly composed of healthier, minimally processed foods towards modern diets laden with unhealthy processed foods. The situation is contributing to rising global malnutrition (specifically obesity), exacerbating environmental degradation, and perpetuating social and economic inequities, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

Panelists will discuss challenges and opportunities for shifting the market competitiveness of protective foods relative to unhealthy, ultra-processed foods, and promoting the consumption of healthy and sustainable diets in Africa. 

The panel discussion will highlight four thematic entry points for demand-driven food systems transformation:

  • the need for evidence-informed public policies;
  • the critical role of the private sector;
  • the need to ensure economic inclusivity, particularly for women-led small and medium enterprises; and
  • the empowerment of consumers and civil society.

IDRC’s Vice-President, Program and Partnerships, Dominique Charron, will introduce the session. The keynote address will be delivered by The Rockefeller Foundation’s Senior Vice-President, Food Initiative, Roy Steiner.

The session will be moderated by IDRC Senior Program Specialist Sam Oji Oti and will feature the following panelists:

  1. Dr. Anita Asiimwe, National Coordinator of the National Early Childhood Development Program, Rwanda
  2. Dr. Thanawat Tiensin, Chairperson, UN Committee on World Food Security
  3. Dr. Elizabeth Kimani-Murage, Research Scientist, African Population and Health Research Center, Kenya
  4. Ms. Wawira Njiru, Chief Executive Officer, Food for Education, Kenya
  5. Ms. Vera Osei-Bonsu, Founder and CEO of Start Right Nutrition Limited, Ghana
  6. Mr. Sam Watasa, Executive Director, Uganda Consumers’ Protection Association, Uganda


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