Food Systems Africa

Nutritional imbalances in both Europe and Africa are increasing, characterised by growing diet-related, non-communicable diseases and persistent under-nutrition. The UN projects that the global population will increase from 7 billion to more than 9 billion by 2050, of which the majority is expected to occur in Africa. To anticipate such population growth and challenges associated with enhanced climate change, agricultural systems need to become more sustainable and better linked to nutrition performance by strengthening the agro-biodiversity of resilient cropping systems, thereby increasing the range of food products for a balanced, healthy diet. Furthermore, resource-efficient, resilient food value chains need to be developed to deliver sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious food to local consumers and for high value global markets. Africa has a wealth of local varieties, food intelligence and healthy African diets including plant based proteins, which are currently largely untapped and not reaching the market, neither in African cities nor in Europe.


Proposals shall assess and deliver better nutrition performance of African farming systems, strengthening the agro-biodiversity (and integrated aquaculture systems) and food diversity. They shall address innovative approaches in local food systems while covering technological, food safety, social and gender issues, and address sustainable postharvest technologies, including bio-based packaging, to reduce food waste along the post-harvest/consumer chain and plastic littering. Empowerment of small farmers (including aquafarmers) and processors benefitting rural areas leading to diversity of diets and improving food identity is essential. Food supply chains (conventional and organic) for both local urban markets and high value global markets shall be targeted. Proposals need to ensure the commitment and participation of a variety of partners established in the EU and in Africa, and shall establish relevant links with other projects involved in the EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security & Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA). Proposals should include a task to cluster with other projects involved in the EU-Africa R&I Partnership on FNSSA and with the cooperation platform established under SFS-32-2017.

The Commission considers that proposals following a multi-actor approach including civil society organisations requesting a contribution from the EU of the order of EUR 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

In the framework of SDG no 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15 and 17, the EU-Africa R&I Partnership on FNSSA, the EU's Bioeconomy Strategy 2012, and the FOOD 2030 SWD, proposals shall describe how projects can contribute to:

  • Improved food systems resulting in sustainable, healthy African diets (comparable to the Mediterranean diet) that on the short term are to become mainstream in 10 African cities;
  • Empowerment of small farmers (including aquafarmers) combined with sustainable growth of food chain operators (SMEs) in rural areas in Africa, both for internal markets and export;
  • New market opportunities for novel food products, tools and processes applicable in Africa that are taking into account food safety issues across the entire food value chain (e.g. improved food storage under mycotoxins free conditions) and reduce food waste;
  • Significant reduction of malnutrition in Africa and particularly in relation to children, including those within the first 1,000 days of life, by implementing nutritional recommendations (proportion/figures to be specified in the proposals as well as reflections on specific food strategies for crisis and civil war situations);
  • Major progress towards the establishment of the EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on FNSSA and impact at local level;
  • Development and implementation of pilot innovation actions for the benefit of African and European consumers at TRL 4-5.

Cross-cutting Priorities

  • RRI
  • Blue Growth
  • Socio-economic science and humanities
  • Gender
  • International cooperation
Application date
Social sciences : Management and Public administration, Economy, Environmental Sciences, Geography, International Relations, Pedagogic & Education Research, Sociology
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology
Other : Biology