FoSTA-Health focuses on four interlinked and fundamental food system transformations in southern Africa that are being invested in and advocated for within national and regional policy. In FoSTA-Health, these investigations are empirically-grounded in geographical case studies within our focal countries: Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia


FoSTA-Health will work in southern Malawi in partnership with CARE, who are implementing the Titukulane project. This project operates across 20 traditional authorities in Mangochi and Zomba Districts, to support the implementation of the Malawi National Resilience Strategy and promote sustainable, equitable, and resilient food and nutrition security for vulnerable households. Titukulane is also supporting farmers in diversification into legumes (soya, pigeon peas, and groundnuts), roots/tubers (sweet potato), fresh fruits and vegetables and small livestock (goats and chickens) and evaluation of these more diverse, holistic strategies is vital to inform future policy and donor support programmes. It thus provides an ideal context in which to investigate transformations in and out of maize and changing agricultural landscapes.


In Tanga, Tanzania, FoSTA-Health will evaluate land management practices and innovations associated with the diversification, particularly away from maize into the production of fresh fruits and vegetables, including for export markets. In this region, the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) and the Muheza Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (MCSSA), among others, are promoting diversification and organic alternatives to chemical fertilisers. FoSTA-Health will work with Sokoine University of Agriculture and the African Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases of Humans and Animals to explore agricultural practice-food safety interconnections as they relate to commodity food crops. We will consider how such practices are shaped by the regulation of inorganic fertiliser use (and regional and international organic food standards and markets) as well as food safety regulation within domestic and export markets.


FoSTA-Health will work in Central Province, Zambia, which has seen significant investment in land acquisitions, irrigation and expansion of soyabean over the past 10 years to become one of the largest soyabean producing areas in the southern Africa region. This production supports a variety of supply chains including feed for a growing regional livestock sector. In Zambia, FoSTA Health work focuses on the impact of changing agricultural landscapes in Central Province as well as on the dietary transitions (including increases in animal-based protein consumption) that these agricultural changes underpin. This will build on work by FANRPAN country node organisation the Agricultural Consultative Forum (ACF), University of Zambia, and University of Leeds on the National Oil Seed Study, commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture.

South Africa

Cattle production systems and value chains are water-, land- and resource-intensive, and are also vulnerable to disease and climate shocks. Recent severe droughts in South Africa have impacted  livestock production systems in South Africa and farmers are increasingly dependent on the import of feed from elsewhere in the region. This dependency has helped to drive the increase production of soyabean in countries such as Zambia to meet regional demand for livestock feed. FANRPAN Country Node, the National Agricultural Marketing Council have been working through the ‘High quality markets and value chains for small-scale and emerging beef cattle farmers in South Africa’ project to support smallholder and communal farmers to produce and market sustainable (low intensity) and premium beef in Gauteng province. FoSTA-Health will draw on the data from this programme to understand how such transitions to more sustainable production practices filter through into accessibility of foods of consumers, and therefore into social and dietary (in)equality, as well as disease risk.

Funding EU

Funding UK

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