The African Union-InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) are working together to build resilience in African feed and fodder systems. The project, called Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems (RAFFS), will run for three years from December 2022 to December 2025. The project aims to address the adverse effects of the recent global triple C crises: Covid-19, climate shocks, and the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
Livestock plays a vital role in ensuring food security, livelihoods, and incomes in Africa. It contributes 24% of the continent's agricultural GDP and up to 50-73% in certain countries. About 70% of those employed in the livestock sector are women. The triple C crises are having a significant impact on Africa's livestock sector, which sustains over a third of the population. These crises have severely disrupted Africa's feed and fodder input and supply chains, resulting in shortages. This has significant implications for development objectives, livelihoods, food security, and nutrition.
In order to address these shortages, multi-stakeholder actions, coordination, and investments are required. Existing efforts are fragmented, and critical gaps exist in data, efficiency, coordination, and reforms. The African Union recognizes the importance of food and nutrition security and has prioritized strengthening agro-food systems, health, and social protection for accelerated development.
The RAFFS project will work with African Union Member States and Regional Economic Communities in three most affected regions (IGAD, ECOWAS, and ECCAS) to build resilience in African feed and fodder systems through:
• Analytical capacity: The project will help to improve the understanding of the factors that affect the resilience of African feed and fodder systems.
• Innovative solutions: The project will develop and test innovative solutions to address the challenges facing African feed and fodder systems.
• Partnerships: The project will work with a range of partners, including governments, the private sector, and civil society organizations.
The RAFFS project aims to make a significant contribution to food security and nutrition in Africa by ensuring that Africa’s livestock sector continues to provide a sustainable source of food, livelihoods and income for millions of people. The successful implementation of this project will contribute to the understanding of the impact of crises on feed and fodder systems, catalyze action, increase investment, and promote systemic change to organize and improve the sector.
The overall objective of the project is to understand the impact of the 3C’s on feed and fodder systems, and to build systematic capacities for data analytics for evidence - based decision making; policy, regulatory and institutional reform; and promotion of viable business and partnership models and solutions to address the vulnerabilities of Africa’s feed and fodder systems.
The project also specifically addresses three strategic objectives to respond to the worsening food and nutrition security occasioned by the 3Cs.
1. To improve the quality, efficiency, and reach of government and private sector services related to feed and fodder systems.
2. To reduce the impact of agricultural volatility on smallholder farmers.
3. To enhance livestock productivity through improved feed and fodder.
The project will focus on implementing evidence-driven short-term solutions to address the adverse effects of the recent crises on African feed and fodder systems. Key components of the project include:
• Analyzing the impact of the crises on the availability and affordability of animal-sourced foods.
• Assessing the vulnerability of feed and fodder production and distribution systems to climate shocks.
• Identifying potential solutions and mitigation measures to build resilience in African feed and fodder systems.
The project implementation takes into consideration the targeted stakeholder group(s) and their specific needs, abilities, and resources. The project will ensure that men and women and other disfranchised groups in the ecosystem are included and have a voice.
The AU member states, RECs, specialised regional institutions, Research institutions, NGOs doing research on livestock issues, the private sector players involved in the production, processing and marketing livestock products, civil society organisations in Africa working with rural communities, various stakeholders along the feed and fodder value chains, livestock-sourced food consumers, women and youth, and their associations/cooperatives and other relevant stakeholders to gather insights and perspectives.
The capacity of these stakeholders will be strengthened in understanding the feed and fodder ecosystem in Africa. The project will establish strong partnerships and collaboration with national, regional and continental organisations to generate synergies in interventions. Periodic consultations with diverse stakeholders and partners will be organised to leverage expertise, resources, and networks.
In summary, the project provides the foundation for a shared understanding among all stakeholders at local and regional level; namely: AU Members States, Local Communities; smallholder farmers, Youth and Women, Regional Economic Communities (REC), and Specialized Regional Institutions.
The project is being implemented by the African Union/ African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR); with financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
Results and Activities
Several activities have been lined up to address the three identified project objectives. The project will be implemented in three phases:
Phase 1: This phase will focus on setting up the project, conducting a situational analysis, and developing a project plan.
Phase 2: This phase will focus on implementing the project plan, including developing and testing innovative solutions, and building partnerships.
Phase 3: This phase will focus on evaluating the project and disseminating the project results.
Project implementation will cover diverse livestock systems and value chains, including poultry, ruminant red meat, live animals, and dairy. Existing initiatives will be utilised such as lessons learned, partnerships to strengthen regional livestock chains.
To ensure a smooth implementation of the project deliverables, three main activities will be implemented, namely:
An inception workshop: In advance of the full implementation of the project, an inception workshop will be organised to raise awareness among stakeholders on the objectives, activities and their role in the implementation of the project. A presentation of the project rationale, activities and their role in the implementation of the project. This will be the first technical and steering committee meeting and official high level launch of the project. Experts and institutions in the feed and fodder ecosystem would be invited to do presentation on issues and status of feed and fodder in Africa including the role of women and youth as well as the private sector.
An exit strategy development: This will be developed to identify suitable mechanisms for seamless phasing out of the project that would ensure the sustainability of the achievements.
Closure workshop: At the end of implementation of the project, a closure workshop would also be organized to inform relevant policy makers (including representatives of relevant Hon. Ministers from AU member states), Non State Actors (NSAs) etc. on the outcomes of the results to ensure buy-in and concurrence for sustainability of project outcomes.
Dissemination of relevant reports to inform follow-up activities for full implementation of the project.