Multi-stakeholder platforms implementing capacity building and clear guidance mechanisms for food systems are key accelerators for food system transformation and increased resilience. Therefore, FAO promotes such multisectoral multi-stakeholder food systems platforms that combine a diverse range of expertise from the agricultural, food, education and health sectors, as well as from private sector, civil society and academia. A mapping of existing nutrition and agriculture platforms was conducted in the six NICE cities in mid 2021. District Nutrition Coordination Committee (DNCC) and City Level Multisector Nutrition Coordination Committee (CLMNCC) set up by UNDP have been selected as platforms to work with in Bangladesh. While both are active in the city of Rangpur, DNCC needs reactivation in Dinajpur while CLMNCC has not even been set up yet in Dinajpur. The County Technical Nutrition Forum (CNTF) and the County Agricultural Sector Steering Committee (CASSCOM) could be selected as platforms to work with in Busia, and Bungoma (Kenya), respectively. In Rwanda, the Joint Action Development Forum (JADF) is acting as the main coordination platform for all development initiatives and specific food systems platforms are currently established under the auspice of JADF.

Needs and capacity assessments of the selected platforms as well as improved inclusiveness of the multi-stakeholder platforms are fostered through different capacity building activities so that the multi-stakeholder platforms sustainably i) advocate for healthy local food supply, ii) support the implementation of demand generation activities, iii) engage in nutrition planning for greater efficiency including respective resourcing, and iv) involve women and youth in decision-making around more resilient food systems.

City-specific value chains for supply-side interventions have been selected in a participatory process with different stakeholders from government, civil society incl. women and youth groups, and private sector as per the following 7 criteria::

  1. Government buy-in: Alignment with government’s interest and priorities
  2. Nutrition-improvement potential: Adressing of the target population’s nutrition problems as identified in the inception phase of the project.
  3. Production feasibility: Selected value chains are already being produced in the city’s foodshed be easily started.
  4. Market potential: Market and growth potential is there
  5. Income generation: Identification of value chains that have a competitiveness potential for target population (women and youth) leading to an increase in income and employment
  6. Agroecology potential: Potential for sustainably manage the environmental resources in the value chain through agroecological practices
  7. Consumers buy-in: Identification of value chains  that are available, affordable, safe, have nutritional quality and are accepted by consumers (with strong focus on target group)

Subsequent to the initial value chain selection in each city, an analysis of the value chains has been initiated as per guidance from the framework on nutrition-sensitive value chains developed by IFAD[1].  The analysis examines bottlenecks and opportunities along the value chains and considers also agroecology and gender and age disaggregated approaches. The analysis results will be taken back to all the stakeholders involved in the initial selection process for discussion and to define the project interventions for each value chain. Please watch the news/resources section as these become available.

[1] Internal Fund for Agriculture. Nutrition-sensitive value chains – A guide for project design. de la Peña I, Garrett J, editors, 2018.

Formative research into consumer life context is planned to be conducted around the selected value chains (intervention) Formative research will particularly focus on food and nutrition and related purchases, with a view to designing a demand generation/social marketing strategy that makes a strong appeal for nutritious, agroecologically produced foods. The formative research also addresses smallholders/ farmers to understand how best to make the adoption of agroecological farming methods appealing. The formative research design comprises the following:

  • In-home observations and shop-along observations with pregnant women, lactating women, and mothers with at least 1 child under 5 years of age
  • In-home observations and shop-along observations with adolescents aged between 13-18 years, equally split between males and females
  • On-site interviews with crop farmers, poultry farmers and fish farmers

Please watch the news/resources section of this website as the findings become available.

So far, knowledge sharing and learning activities were largely focused on exchanging experiences and forging synergies between the outcomes and country teams of the NICE project.

In January 2021, a first cross-city event was conceptualised where both the cities in each country were invited to discuss the findings from the preliminary baseline data collection, to give their feedback and reflections and to jointly exchange on what the results mean for the ongoing planning of interventions. The next learning events are planned for 31 May/ 2022 and 29 July 2022.

In terms of policies, at baseline it was established that:

  • In Bangladesh, both cities work according to national policies in agriculture, nutrition and food security, while there are also relevant National Dietary Guidelines from the Ministry of Health. The Government of Bangladesh and FAO have started to develop some city approaches but there is no consolidated evidence available so far.
  • In Kenya, agriculture and health are both devolved functions to county and thus city level. There are decentralized arms of both ministries in the cities and some resources. The NICE context assessment revealed that while there are city level activities to improve nutrition there are no policies, and no documented tools or approaches.

In Rwanda, the Government has an ambitious 2050 vision focused on human development, agriculture for wealth creation and urbanization. Both NICE cities have a master plan for creating employment opportunities with a specific focus on green growth/green urbanization. So far, in discussions with the mayors and city stakeholders, no specific city based tools or approaches were identified.