The Focus Areas were selected based on the intersection between the scientific strengths of partner institutions and collaborators, the potential to undertake research projects based on 21st century science platforms and, the need to limit the scope of the research work to projects which address weaknesses in Africa’s agricultural and food systems.
1. Improve Africa's herds
The purpose of this focus area is to protect Africa’s environment and wildlife heritage in a manner that addresses the interface between pastoralist communities and wildlife populations to contribute to food security and nutrition, as well as to livelihoods, with a strong One Health approach.
2. Unleash the potential of Africa's crops
The purpose is to explore the soil-seed-water-plant-food-human health nexus to protect African crops, address the yield gap, reduce losses, enhance quality and secure safety of food. The goal is to lead the revival of African underutilised crops through exploring the phyto-microbiomes and other novel innovative technologies to ensure future food for Africa.
3. Provide 21st century Africa with sufficient safe, nutritious, consumer-driven food
The purpose of this focus area is to explore the pathways to providing sufficient, safe, nutritious and consumer driven food to the populations of 21st century Africa. The objectives of the focus area are to design foods with local and indigenous African plants and animals that are affordable, marketable and convenient, nutrient dense rather than energy dense foods with extra health benefits, identify and implement appropriate food processing technologies for SMMEs to manufacture convenient African Foods and deliver nutrients of concern into policies and programmes to ensure that nutrient adequate foods are available, (culturally) acceptable, accessible and affordable to Africa’s population.
4. Inform evidence-led food policy
This focus area will concentrate on assessment of public policies related to the other three themes and their appropriateness to deliver on the overall vision of the ACoE to harness partnerships in research and innovation to drive agricultural and food system transformation to ensure sustainable food security and nutrition in Africa in line with the continental and national development policy aspirations. The research in this theme will produce (i) technical advice on policy issues such as technical working papers, journal articles based on single country cases and comparative analyses, policy briefs and (ii) educational resources for capacity development programmes.