FoSTA-Health is structured around seven interacting work packages (WPs). WP1 focuses on the stakeholder engagement within which the project is centred. WPs 2-5 represent the grounded research components of the project and each is separately focused on a different food systems transformation case study. There is purposefully designed overlap in the contexts, case studies, and institutions involved in these WPs, which will allow for the investigation of cross site and scale interactions (e.g. between supply chain regulation and rural livelihoods, between producers and consumers at different ends of the same supply chain, between farm management and landscape dynamics, and more) within WP6. Particularly through co-development and co-analysis of integrated modelling approaches WP6 will seek to identify the leverage points and opportunities for affecting system transformation.

Click the image to see the details about the WPs


Work Package 1: Stakeholder Engagement

FoSTA-Health is founded on the understanding that food systems transformation is driven by a variety of stakeholders, at multiple scales, and with different perspectives. As a result we take a transdisciplinary approach to research that is inclusive of the diversity of stakeholders within research and innovation processes, through transdisciplinary, co-designed and participatory approaches.

Key stakeholders at the local/landscape, supply chain, and regional & international policy levels will be engaged over the life of the project.

Work Package 2: Transitions in and out of maize

Maize remains the dominant staple crop in southern Africa and is vital for the food security and livelihoods of rural communities throughout the region. However, the vulnerability of maize to droughts, delayed rainy season onsets, and climate variability means that in a context of changing and variable climates, it is subject to frequent crop failure. Maize dominated diets also provide limited micronutrients. Climate resilience, crop diversification, and human health interact in complex ways.

Work Package 2 focuses on local level transitions of maize based agricultural systems in Malawi and Tanzania, to understand how agricultural innovation is shaping rural livelihoods, social equity, climate resilience, soil health and nutrition.

Work Package 3: Land acquisitions, and land, water and resource use change

Across southern Africa, large-scale investments in the promotion of commercial agriculture and food processing infrastructure, to promote growth of rural economies, have been associated with large land acquisitions and increased irrigation. These land use and landscape scale changes have implications for rural livelihoods, natural resource access and use, and biodiversity.

Work Package 3 focuses on landscape scale changes in Zambia and Malawi, to understand how land use change and how new commercial production systems using intensified production practices are shaping and impacting the livelihoods of rural farmers, and altering the ecology of the landscape. We are also exploring how crop irrigation and associated changing water use and infrastructure, in combination with climate change and variability, is impacting access to water for sanitation and the distribution of insect vectors and vector borne disease risk for humans and animals.

Work Package 4: Domestic to export markets for fresh fruits and vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are high value commodities which are central to the strategies for growth of the agricultural sector of countries across southern Africa. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also an important source of micronutrients, and could play a critical role in addressing some of the persistent micro-nutrient deficiencies recorded in the southern African region, such as in iron, vitamin A, and folates. However a lack of fair price guarantee, unequal power dynamics within supply chains, and the perishability of the crop can create risks for the producer.

Work Package 4 explores and compares the ways in which domestic and export supply chain processes, regulations, food standards, and contractual arrangements shape the experiences of producers and consumers and impacts on human and environmental health in Tanzania and South Africa

Work Package 5: Dietary Transitions

The double burden of malnutrition is an increasingly important challenge in southern Africa particularly in urban centres where economic inequalities are high. At the same time, economic development and urbanisation are contributing to nutrition transitions towards more diverse (non-maize centred) and more western dietary patterns. In some contexts, this is contributing to improved intake of micro-nutrients and helping to address protein deficiencies, but it is also contributing to the increased consumption of processed oils, fats and red meat, which can be associated with diet-related diseases. Dietary transitions also contribute to new societal exposure to new food safety-related health risks, for example antibiotics, hormones, disinfectants and animal vectors of disease.

Work Package 5 compares diet transition trajectories across two urban centres – Lusaka (Zambia) and Pretoria (South Africa) - to understand the interrelationships between food access, social equality, the double burden of malnutrition and exposure to food safety-related health risks.

Work Package 6: Equitable Transformation Pathways and Leverage Points

Enhancing understanding and modelling of system dynamics is crucial for identifying the opportunities and trade-offs associated with transformative change, and thus informing equitable and inclusive policies, processes, and actions.

Work Package 6 is developing a powerful integrated food system modelling tool for evidence-based decision-making and offer opportunities for meaningful engagement with and between a range of relevant stakeholders in assessing food system transformation pathways. We adopt a novel overarching focus on leverage points, justice and equity in our work on the visioning and governing of food systems transformation.

Funding EU

Funding UK

Relevant Links

About Us

Copyright and disclaimer


Search this site