FOOD and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity



The past decades have been characterized by significant changes in food systems. After a prolonged decline of global food insecurity and hunger, new evidence shows an increase of specific forms of malnutrition. In some areas of the world, stunting and wasting are still widely present and critically high, especially among children, while obesity, overweight, and under-nutrition coexist in many countries. These different stages of the nutrition transition have been evident in African countries as well. For instance, in 2017, Eastern Africa displayed the highest values of exclusive breastfeeding among 0 to 5-year-olds (59.8%) and of stunting among under 5-year-olds (35.6%) in Africa (FAO, 2018). Other forms of malnutrition prevail in Northern Africa, where increasing rates of obesity in the adult population (25.4% among 18-year-olds and older), overweight in children (10.3% among under 5-year-olds), and anaemia among women of reproductive age (31.8%) have reached the highest levels in Africa (FAO, 2018). The diffusion and worsening of unbalanced diets and malnutrition in Northern and Eastern Africa signal an inadequate progress towards the SDGs (namely, target 2.2: “significantly reducing all forms of malnutrition”) and highlight the need of ensuring that nutritious foods are accessible, affordable, and desired especially for children and mothers (Arimond et al., 2010). The comparison of these conditions with the nutrition-responsiveness of the African food supply chains indicates a gap. Lack of coordination among smallholder farmers, inefficient use of resources, high vulnerability to climate change, low integration of supply chains, and scarce market orientation often characterize the local food systems. Nevertheless, agriculture is about more than mere productivity just as food is about more than intake. Indeed African food systems display an abundance of biodiversity, food culture, typicality, and identity. These food systems provide essential environmental and social services. They also play a pivotal role in shaping individual wellbeing and in contributing to sustainable development of a society as per SDGs. Accordingly, research and innovation activities should support food-related behavioural change of producers and consumers to boost both food diversity and healthy dietary diversity, the two domains which are still unexploited, and whose interrelations have been given little attention to date. The four-years project FOODLAND ultimately aims at contributing to closing this gap.

Project details

Unibo Team Leader: Marco Setti

Unibo involved Department/s:
Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Agro-Alimentari

ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - Università di Bologna(Italy)

Other Participants:
University Of Mekelle (Ethiopia)
Handelshøjskolen I København - Copenhagen Business School (Denmark)
Novamont Spa (Italy)
National Agriculture Research Organization (Uganda)
The James Hutton Institute (United Kingdom)
Ministry Of Agriculture Livestock And Fisheries (Kenya)
Farm Concern International Development Trust (Kenya)
AquaBioTech Limited (Malta)
Nutreal Limited (Uganda)
Eurice European Research And Project Office Gmbh (Germany)
Comitato Europeo Per La Formazione E L'Agricoltura Onlus - Cefa (Italy)
Tamarillo Kenya Limited (Kenya)
HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation (Switzerland)
Inrat - National Institute Of Agricultural Research Of Tunisia (Tunisia)
Kitui Enterprise Promotion Company Limited (Kenya)
Sokoine University Of Agriculture (Tanzania, United Republic Of)
Katundu Traders Ltd (Tanzania, United Republic Of)
Institut Superieur Agronomique De Chott-Meriem (Tunisia)
University Of Nairobi (Kenya)
Ecole Nationale D'Agriculture De Meknes (Morocco)
Zoyout Dir Beni Mellal Gie (Morocco)
Eidgenoessisches Departement Fuer Wirtschaft, Bildung Und Forschung (Switzerland)
Groupement Hrayer Gloub Ethiran (Tunisia)
Volunteer Effort For Development-Concern (Uganda)
Makerere University (Uganda)
Relief Society Of Tigray (Ethiopia)
Elhuyar Fundazioa (Spain)

Total Eu Contribution: Euro (EUR) 6.999.086,75
Project Duration in months: 48
Start Date: 01/09/2020
End Date: 31/08/2024

Cordis webpage
Project website

Zero hunger This project contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 862802 This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 862802