31 March 2022, Pretoria, South Africa
After four years of collaboration with institutions in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK, the GCRF-Agricultural and Food System Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy (AFRICAP) programme has come to an end.

On 28 and 29 March, we came together for the first time since 2019 to celebrate AFRICAP’s achievements as the programme draws to a close. Gathering in Pretoria, team members from Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and the UK joined the event along with key stakeholders from the food and agricultural sphere.

A mix of public webinars, presentations and interactive sessions covered the results and work conducted under the programme’s three main themes: Transformational pathways to climate-smart food agrifood systems, Policy engagement and de-risking, and Growing capability. Over the course of two days, we examined the opportunities and challenges associated with achieving climate-smart food systems as showcased by our integrated assessment framework that led to the creation of the iFEED tool

Webinar 1: Transformational pathways to climate smart agrifood systems

This webinar provided a summary of the research conducted under the GCRF-AFRICAP programme through a series of bitesize presentations. Members from across project team highlighted our work on climate extremes and impacts on crop production, agricultural adaptation strategies and innovations, and the relationships between agricultural practice, food safety and nutrition and landscape ecology. The webinar also looked at how this grounded research, in Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia, has been integrated with modelling tools to explore the implications of different pathways of agriculture and food system change between now and 2050. This work collectively helps us to consider the opportunities and challenges associated with achieving climate-smart food systems.

Webinar 2: Policy engagement for agricultural transformation

The GCRF-AFRICAP programme has engaged with local and national networks to share evidence from our research and modelling, to enable policy and decision makers to support climate smart and sustainable agricultural development. In this webinar we heard from project partners in Tanzania, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia about key policy engagement activities and their reflections on the benefits and challenges of linking science into policy.

Webinar 3: Panel discussion – building capacity for agricultural transformation

The GCRF-AFRICAP programme’s central aim was to grow capability for individuals, organisations and institutions in both the UK and sub-Saharan Africa in conducting research in the area of climate-smart agriculture and more broadly. For this session, we brought together a panel of expert speakers to reflect on the lessons we have learned from our capacity-building activities and provide recommendations for future large-scale research and advocacy programmes with a capacity-building focus. Agatha Kiama of the Economic and Social Research Foundation, Tanzania, shared learnings from a skills training and study tour for district officials and agricultural extension officers from Muheza district while Mr Christian Chomba, a 2019 AFRICAP Chatham House fellow, reflected on the fellowship and how this has influenced his later work at the Agricultural Consultative Forum of Zambia. Finally, colleagues from the Civil Society Agriculture Network of Malawi (CISANET) and University of Leeds presented the organisational learning that AFRICAP has provided at their respective institutions. We hope the reflections in this session will be of interest to those involved in programme design and implementation in research organisations, civil society and policy circles, particularly with a capacity-strengthening focus.