What are the policy implications of the dynamic growth of supply & demand for nutrient-dense foods in Africa?

The supply and demand of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables (FV) and animal products (AP), are inadequate and too expensive for most consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, WHO, 2023). The international debate has mainly focused on the constraints and problems fuelling this inadequacy. But conditions are changing rapidly. Across the continent both consumption and production of these foods is expanding rapidly. A recent paper talks of a true “meso boom”, characterized by grassroots-driven supply growth across multiple countries, which is reshaping food supply chains.

This paper has shown that despite the fact that people in SSA under-consume nutrient dense foods and the farm production and supply chains of these products are fraught with constraints that keep them from operating optimally, there is evidence of dynamism in these sectors. To wit: (1) consumption of these products in levels and shares is already substantial and growing rapidly; (2) supply of these products is growing rapidly, just not yet much faster than population growth; (3) supply growth is manifested in a number of countries by dynamic “meso booms” with diffusion of farming and growth in midstream VC segments.

What are the policy implications of such conclusions? What are the implications of the evidence with regards to poverty alleviation?

The webinar taking place on September 6th will discuss the observations and conclusions of the author and the panelists. You are also welcome to register your thoughts here. Please provide your comments/questions in the section below.