Research projects are conducted by ten postdoctoral fellows at ZEF GlobalHort, KoGa, ECFF, FOFIFA, ASARECA, FANRPAN, and FRC together with 54 Master students in Ethiopia and Madagascar from March 2015 to 2018.
The research enables poor male and female smallholders to sustainably increase their agricultural productivity and species diversity by integrating fruits and vegetables into existing multi-storey cropping systems. This is achieved by increasing knowledge about appropriate fruits and vegetables for multi-storey cropping systems and by improving knowledge on food behavior and adoption constraints.
Capacity building increases the awareness and knowledge of farmers, consumers and decision takers about:
1. Balanced diets
2. Nutritional values of different foods
3. Fruit and vegetable production and processing
4. Food preparation and quality
Finally, the project sensitizes extension services and policy makers on the importance of nutrition diversified agriculture, explicitly incorporating nutrition objectives into agricultural programmes, projects and policies.
The research results are analyzed and processed to serve as a generic approach that can be extrapolated to similar regions and areas in Africa. This is supported by practical information material and checklists for appropriate (indigenous and other) fruits and vegetables in multi-storey cropping systems, as well as guidelines on how to best introduce nutrition-sensitive agricultural innovations.
To reach a sustainable diversified agriculture and balanced nutrition of men, women and children, who already practice some forms of multi-storey cropping in biodiversity hotspots, the research includes three components:
(i) Vegetable / fruit and cropping system component
(ii) Socio-economic component
(iii) Capacity building and knowledge transfer component
In summary, the work is divided into the following work packages (WP) :
WP 1: Ex-ante analysis of the local farming system, biodiversity use and socio-economic context
WP 2: Identification of appropriate fruit and vegetable species and varieties, suitable cropping patterns, nutrient content of crops
WP 3: Socio-economic gender, institutional and food behavior analysis
WP 4: Capacity building and knowledge transfer around nutrition, food processing, biodiversity and nutrition-sensitive agriculture
WP 5: Participatory evaluation of the horticultural trials, dietary changes, socio-economic and biodiversity protection effects
WP 6: Fruits and vegetables and poor smallholder farming systems in Madagascar
WP 7: Project coordination and management