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.

Goal of Sustainable Livelihoods

Speakers:  Ileana Resendez, Heifer; Cheryl Pinto, Ben and Jerry’s; Jefferson Shriver, CRS Living Income key points: Incorporating a Living Income (LI) approach is a much slower initial process with partners, but in…

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Training and service delivery models

Speakers: Roberto Vega, Syngenta; Christine Condo, Sustainable Harvest; Brian Gleeson, Catholic Relief Services Training and Service Delivery: Key to Successful Agriprenuers: A discussion of innovative and effective service delivery models that incentivize…

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Climate Resilience in Coffee

Speakers: Mark Lundy, CIAT; Laurence Jassogne, IITA; Britta Deutsch, HRNS Africa Building coffee growing communities that are resilient to climate change and can sell into stable, resilience value chains was the…

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Food Loss and Waste

Speakers:  Rafael Flor, Rockefeller Foundation, Allan Ngakonda, RUDI How do you get actors in the food system to actively reduce food loss & waste? The YieldWise program of the Rockefeller…

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Beyond the Value Chain: Sector Governance

Speakers: Bill Vorley, IIED; Willem Molenaar, Aidenvironment How do sector governance instruments influence sector wide capabilities that promote sector performance and influence producer performance?  Value chain projects frequently result in islands…

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Effectiveness of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms

Speakers: Caroline Ashley, Yara / Ashley Insight; Sean DeCleene, AGRA; Ken Giller, Wageningen UR; Geoffery Kirenga, SAGCOT; Platforms are difficult for all involved: time consuming, comfort zone challenging, and slow. What have we…

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Panel on System Leadership

Speakers: Anna Swaithes; Nira Desai, World Cocoa Anna Swaithes and Nira Desai used examples from work in the cocoa sector in West Africa to illustrate the interplay between individual and organizational…

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Crossroads session

Bringing your own “crossroad” into the room Speakers: Eric Leong Son, ABinBev; Urvi Kelkar. ABinBev   This session shifted focus from the overall trends and opportunities in East Africa to decisions…

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Opening Panel

Opening Panel: William Asiko, Grow Africa; Sean de Cleene, AGRA; Rafael Flor, The Rockefeller Foundation; Jackie Mikindi, TAHA After spending two days in the field in Tanzania and Kenya visiting farms,…

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