Home » Study Explores Policy Coherence in Transforming Food Systems
Africa Food & Drinks Global News News

Study Explores Policy Coherence in Transforming Food Systems

The International Journal for Rural Development has published a study analyzing national pathways to transform food systems through policy coherence. Comparing the examples of Ethiopia, Malawi, and Nigeria, the article discusses options for achieving such coherence as well as challenges countries face in this process.

Titled, ‘Policy Coherence and Food Systems Transformation,’ and authored by Livia Bizikova, the study notes that national pathways for food systems transformation presented by more than 100 countries at the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) generally focus on high-level priorities and do not specify the policies and actions needed to achieve food system transformation at the national level.

The article argues that coherence across different policy areas relevant to food systems is essential for addressing economic constraints, inconsistencies, and trade-offs. It discusses horizontal policy coherence across sectors, vertical policy coherence among different levels of governance, and temporal policy coherence addressing resource allocation and implementation over time.

To achieve horizontal and vertical policy coherence, the study recommends focusing on policies and strategies in a narrow subset of directly linked policy areas covering agriculture and rural development, nutrition and food security, and climate change and disaster management. It also calls for moving beyond these policy areas to include policies targeting educational development, public health, and the labor market.

Poor coordination between national, sub-national, and local policies is one of the main challenges to achieving policy coherence, the study finds, pointing to several existing national policies and strategies in Ethiopia, Malawi, and Nigeria that the three countries’ national pathways fail to reflect. “Explicit integration in national pathways would provide additional impetus to move existing policies forward and highlight gaps where policy frameworks are missing,” it underscores.

The paper notes that achieving temporal policy coherence “requires balancing considerations of urgency, synergy and appropriate sequencing of interventions,” as well as available resources. For example, to better anticipate climate disasters, the three countries’ national pathways identify measures related to food security, nutrition, land restoration, and weather forecasting and surveillance. The study argues that investments in forecasting and surveillance may be a higher priority as they help farmers “make long-term investments in cultivation practices or restoration with greater security.”

Highlighting similarities between the three countries’ priorities, the paper indicates it may be possible to develop common programmes for donor support and capacity building on issues including food safety and standards, food loss and waste, options to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture, and institutional development, which would also offer lessons for other countries seeking to address similar priorities.

Source : IISD