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Research article2023Peer reviewed

Building Resilient and Robust Food Systems for a Hungry, Growing, and Changing World – Case Study of 2nd Topmost Ranked African Union and European Union Project at the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI)

Eleblu, J.S.Y; Asante, M.; Traore, E.V.; et al.


The world’s population is projected to rise from 7.7 billion to 9.7 billion in 2050, with sub-Saharan Africa contributing half of this increase. A growing population signifies an increase in the demand placed on our food and limited natural resources. With the food demand expected to increase by 50% in the next 40 years, there is the urgency to make our food production systems more resilient and sustainable. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the weak links in our current food systems: unsustainable; the trade-off between efficiency and resilience; highly centralized; increase in malnutrition and obesity; and income disparity. This paper discusses the impact of population growth on our environment, and the challenges in our food systems. We further expound on what the ideal food system is, and how we can transform our current food systems to make them more resilient and sustainable. Creating an ideal food system, able to meet our present and future needs requires sound partnerships between all actors of the food system. This is 
represented by a case study on the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) human capacity development programmes geared towards the transformation of Africa’s food systems. The “human” aspect is a key element of food systems. In order to build resilient and sustainable food systems, it is critical for human resource to be equipped to learn, adapt, identify problems and implement changes as and when needed. As part of its core objectives, WACCI is dedicated to the capacity building and training of the next generation of scientists that would lead the transformation of the food system, especially in Africa. WACCI has trained so far 105 plant breeders from different countries in Africa and seeks to promote gender equality by advocating for more female scientists to be trained in the field. The role of gender in food security and sustainability cannot be undermined. WACCI is determined to contribute to food and nutrition security in Africa through human resource empowerment and partnerships that can create more resilient and sustainable food systems. Specifically, we highlighted in this article the outputs, outcomes and impact of an 
African Union – European Union project on “Crop and Soil Health improvement for sustainable agricultural 
intensification towards economic transformation in West Africa” which is the 2nd topmost ranked project in terms of results achieved in innovations, potential for scalability and impact.

Published in

ASRIC Journal on Agricultural Sciences
2023, Volume: 4, number: 2, pages: 167-188