Resilience and Resource Nexus in Food Systems: Case of Tea and Wheat Subsectors in Tanzania

The project investigates how geopolitical tensions and resource availability influence food system resilience in Tanzania to bolster food security strategies.

Date Published
9 Jul 2024
Expected Start Date
01 Apr 2023
Expected End Date
31 Mar 2026
Project Type
Project Status

As Africa recovers from the effects of COVID-19, the ongoing geopolitical conflict between Ukraine and Russia poses another challenge to many African country’s resilience and ability to manage food production, distribution networks, and fertilizers, and ensure food security. These concerns are compounded by disruptions to critical resources in the agrifood systems caused by rising prices of global food, natural gas, and fertilizer due to increased export restrictions, shipping costs, and import insurance. At present, 15 countries, with four being in East Africa, rely on Ukraine and Russia for over 50% of their wheat imports. This dependence is crucial for their essential needs and exports of locally grown agricultural products. While social protection programs can provide much-needed support to vulnerable social groups, they may not be enough to completely counteract the effects of management strategies designed to reinforce particular behaviors. Despite their best efforts, these programs may not be able to fully protect those who are most in need of assistance and may need to be supplemented with additional forms of aid or intervention to be truly effective, compounding hunger and undernourishment risk.

Moreover, Existing food systems recovery strategies seemed to have mysterious synergies and tradeoffs that allow the system to achieve efficiency slowly or lose its effectiveness. The effect will be felt for years regarding the availability and pricing of food items. With the focus on Tanzania’s potential Agrifood systems, Tea, and wheat are the major representative crops that rely more on export and import markets respectively. In this research project, the system dynamics approach is utilized to understand the issue of resilience and resource interaction in the tea and wheat Agrifood systems from a policy perspective. Additionally, it examines different options and management strategies to enhance its conduct and safeguard marginalized communities.

The project seeks to examine how geopolitical tensions and resource availability affect the resilience of global food systems in Tanzania. Also, it aims to prompt and offer suggestions for enhancing retrieval policies and financial systems that could enhance food security in the area. Additionally, providing strategies for incorporating climate change mitigation and adaptation measures into planning and decision-making procedures for the restoration of food security in response to the Ukraine crisis. The project outcomes will provide evidence-based policy recommendations for agricultural systems in countries heavily reliant on food imports, particularly in East Africa. This will be based on identified synergies, tradeoffs, and potential financial mechanisms for food security recovery strategies. The focus will be on improving the resilience, productivity, and sustainability of these systems.

This project is funded by the Saxon State Ministry for Energy, climate protection, environment, and Agriculture (SMEKUL) and conducted in close collaboration with the United Nations Development Coordination Office within the context of the design and operationalization of the UN Sustainable Development project with a focus in Tanzania. 

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