Food System Adaptation in Changing Environments in Africa (FACE-Africa)

Photo: Dansira Dembélé (CCAFS West Africa)
In West Africa, market gardening has a great potential in ensuring food security for the most vulnerable ones

Food System Adaptation in Changing Environments in Africa | FACE Africa

Project description

Climate change exacerbates undernutrition mainly through the following causal pathways: (1) impacts on household access to sufficient, safe and adequate food; (2) impacts on care and feeding practices; and (3) impacts on environmental health and access to health services. Therefore, in addition to securing food, climate-smart agriculture (CSA) activities should aim to increase the demand for and understanding of nutritious diets. It should also facilitate the adoption of adaptive technologies to help boost agricultural income for nutrition, health, and education.

A new partnership of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in West Africa with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is aiming to promote nutrition and health-focused research through a newly funded project on Food System Adaptation in Changing Environments in Africa (FACE-Africa).

The overall aims of the FACE Africa project are to: (1) develop tools to identify, synthesize and quantify the impact that tested adaptations in food systems will have on food availability, diversity and equality of access in climate vulnerable countries in Africa; and (2) assess the capacity of food systems in climate vulnerable countries to deliver healthy and sustainable diets by 2030. The project will include The Gambia as a case study to develop methods for similar analyses in other African countries. 


  • Analysis of the national-level data from publicly available sources
  • Mapping and evidence synthesis of climate change adaptations identified in the ongoing CCAFS Climate-Smart Villages (CSV) approach 
  • Exploration of inequalities in the food system by bringing together sub-national data on nutrition and health previously collected from various sites by the Medical Research Council (MRC) in The Gambia and Cambridge 
  • Development of methods to quantify population nutritional status and health under business-as-usual (BAU) scenarios for 2030 
  • Stratification of the Gambian population into “consumption strata” based on dietary analysis conducted as part of outcome 1
  • Comparison of future food system projections
  • Use of mixed methods to identify future climate change adaptation scenarios, and their impact on nutritional and population health

Expected outcomes

  1. The food system in The Gambia along with its major trends and drivers, are characterized and synthesized;
  2. Evidence of past and current adaptations to climate change in food systems in The Gambia/West-Africa is mapped;
  3. A novel method to use national, regional, and local secondary datasets to parameterize and downscale existing environment / agriculture / nutrition and health models to provide estimates of the impacts of future food systems on population health by 2030, including The Gambia as a case study, is developed
  4. Alternative food system scenarios for 2030 based on climate adaptations already being considered for implementation in The Gambia are explored. Furthermore, opportunities through outcome 1 and outcome 2 are identified, and their impact on all-cause mortality/years of lost lives and all forms of malnutrition are estimated

CCAFS and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) will develop new scenarios and use previously developed Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) scenarios for West Africa that will be parameterized and downscaled for The Gambia.


More information

For more information, please contact Dr. Robert, Zougmoré, CCAFS/ICRISAT (, Dr Pauline Scheelbeek, The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine ( and Rosemary Green, The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine ( 

Funding for this project is provided by:

Wellcome Trust

Project Activities

Since 2011, CCAFS has used its CSV models in West Africa to test and validate several agricultural interventions with the participation of various local partners. While potential agricultural innovations that simultaneously achieve the triple wins of CSA are evolving from the CSVs, there is limited evidence of their cost-effectiveness. Together with local partners, we will assess the costs and benefits of proven CSA technologies and accentuate implications on adoption, investment opportunities and development of business models in West Africa.

The CSV AR4D sites of West Africa have seen a number of promising CSA technologies realized from the participatory development and testing of the CSV model in Ghana, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Burkina Faso. For the scaling out/up perspective, these results/achievements still need robust evidence of their effectiveness as well as the enabling environment that can bring them to scale. Moreover, considering the role of livestock in food security and poverty reduction in West Africa, CCAFS is keen to meet a major need in the region by using the CSVs of Ghana and Mali to promote the adoption of climate-smart agro-silvopastoral systems for improved and sustained fodder availability and livestock nutrition. In addition to the documentation and nutritional profiling and testing of fodder species, the potential for firewood and charcoal production from multipurpose fodder species shall be explored alongside the development of a bio-digester using manure from livestock.

In the quest to improve the capacity of farmers to better manage climate related risks and build more resilient livelihoods, CCAFS-West Africa has since 2011 been piloting in its CSV AR4D sites of Ghana how downscaled seasonal forecast information through mobile phones (called the Esoko platform) could help farmers adapt to climate change and variability. With promising results emerging, CCAFS intends to help Esoko develop a viable business model as a means of strengthening local private institutions and making CIS accessible to millions of farmers across Ghana. The propose work will develop a public-private partnership business model by analyzing current PPP components and establishing evidence on the economic cost of CIS and delivered through the Esoko platform.

Previous results recommended Afzelia africana, Annona senegalensis, Ficus gnaphalocarpa, Pterocarpus erinaceus and Faidherbia albida as the most prioritized browse species in the CSV based mainly on their preference by, and therefore for, ruminants. These identified candidate browse species seem to be overly exploited in the whole of northern Ghana for fodder, as medicine and even for timber, resulting in declining yield of biomass. This therefore necessitates the development of a multispecies fodder bank that concentrated the species on the same plot of land alongside palatable woody legumes, herbaceous legumes, high-yielding forage grasses and some food-feed crops to increase the opportunity for ensuring sustainable all-year-round fodder production and availability. We will estimate the resource use efficiency, gender mainstreaming, seasonal fodder productivity, litter accumulation, quality of C inputs and soil C sequestration within the fodder bank. An economic evaluation of fodder bank will be determined and shared to inform local investment needs.

Project Deliverables