Dynamic trends coupled with deep challenges, and complex partnerships were recurrent themes in this year’s Food Lab Learning Journey and Summit discussions.

Urbanization across East Africa increases demand for safe, healthy food in local markets. Apex organizations like the Tanzania Horticultural Association and the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor are creating synergies among market demand, private investment and farmer needs. Rapid dissemination of low cost, post-harvest technology is reducing crop loss and increasing food security.


Opportunities coexist with difficulties. Climate variability, systemic poverty, lack of reinvestment in farm improvement and not enough technical service delivery exacerbate farmers’ challenges every season. Ready investment capital far outstrips the capacity of African countries to capture this opportunity.  Governments prioritize agricultural development but are often crippled by lack of institutional coordination and internal capacity.

These were some of the messages we heard from the 94 African and global business, civil society and government leaders attending the 2016 Sustainable Food Lab Leadership Summit. The Summit participants worked together to map the context of agriculture in East Africa in an effort to understand this region and its lessons for our work to build sustainable food systems.

Commodity Exchanges in Africa

Review of the role of commodity exchanges in supporting smallholder farmer market linkages and income benefits Recently the government of Ethiopia mandated that all of the navy bean trade is to done through the new commodity exchange.  But the new business models for sustainable trading relationships team has been working on this crop in Ethiopia…

Business Models that are Inclusive of Small Farmers

  Small-scale farmers, who form the bedrock for global agrifood supply, are faced with agrifood markets in an unprecedented state of flux. Domestic markets are undergoing rapid but uneven modernization, and higher value and export markets are increasingly the preserve of larger scale suppliers. Inclusive business models as those which do not leave behind small-…

The Climate-Smart Agriculture Papers

The Sustainable Food Lab is happy to announce the publication of The Climate-Smart Agriculture Papers, Investigating the Business of a Productive, Resilient and Low Emission Future.  This book is a collection of research focusing on climate-smart agriculture and includes authors from over 30 institutions.  The material covers conversations around climate impacts, climate-smart varieties, farm management, supply and…