Exploring sustainable agriculture and food systems in Africa

Researchers are exploring ways transforming agricultural and food systems might help meet the Sustainable Development Goals in Southern Africa.

They will engage with food producers and policy makers to develop a long-term view of how farming and food production systems might change over coming decades.

The project, GCRF-Agricultural and Food systems Resilience: Increasing Capacity & Advising Policy (AFRICAP), is an £8m programme funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund.

Research and modelling tools simulate factors including:

  • climate change
  • water availability
  • changes to global trade

Through these, the project will evaluate policy options and technological innovations.

Researchers on the project are from across the University, in the School of Earth and Environment, the Faculty of Biological Sciences, and Food Science and Nutrition.  

Dr Stephen Whitfield, Associate Professor in Climate Change and Food Security at Leeds, said: “Within the project, we want to think about how changes in food production interact with changes across the food system, which includes thinking about the wider economy, trade, employment, the ways that water is used and allocated, changes in land use and implications for biodiversity, and more.

“Diets are changing too, and transitions towards diets that are higher in fat and protein have implications for livestock systems and the growing of crops for feed rather than food. All of these things affect the viability of different future pathways of agricultural change.”