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ICRISAT and FAO-SFE Cooperate to Combat Hidden Hunger in East and Southern Africa

ICRISAT and FAO-SFE Cooperate to Combat Hidden Hunger in East and Southern Africa


ICRISAT, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization's Subregional Office for Eastern Africa (FAO-SFE), has spearheaded a transformative initiative to address the pervasive issue of hidden hunger across East and Southern Africa.

From April 3 to 6, key stakeholders converged for a dynamic writeshop, laying the foundation for a groundbreaking collaborative project proposal. ​

Titled "Inclusive Entrepreneurship and Agribusiness Development in East and Southern Africa," the proposal aims to tackle critical challenges within millet and vegetable value chains through targeted entrepreneurship development and agribusiness incubation. ​ The project also aims to develop innovative millet-vegetable processed food products to address micro-nutrient malnutrition and promote balanced diets.

The writeshop brought together key FAO officials, ICRISAT staff, and the seven stakeholders identified during the diagnostic studies conducted between 4 February and 16 March in Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda. FAO-SFE funded the writeshop and the diagnostic studies.

Diagnostic Studies

The diagnostic studies team comprised Dr Victor Afari-Sefa, Acting Deputy Director General—Research and Global Research Program Director, Enabling Systems Transformation (EST), and Mr Aravazhi Selvaraj, Country Director, India-World Vegetable Center. They were supported by Associate Managers Ms Anitha Nadipalli and Ms Divya Nancy from the Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) of ICRISAT.

As part of a prospective South-South collaboration, the team briefed Indian High Commissioners in Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda on their proposal and action plan. They interacted with diverse stakeholders, including visiting national research institutions, agri-business incubators, food processing companies, Small and Medium Enterprises, startups, and Farmer Producer Organizations.

The team also conducted virtual briefings and knowledge-sharing sessions with FAO staff in Africa and Rome and with ICRISAT local office teams. They also visited retail outlets before the writeshop to study product ranges and consumer preferences for millet and vegetables.

The Writeshop

During the writeshop, participants engaged in group discussions, presentations, and deliberations to refine the project proposal. The group was divided into three teams comprising representatives from Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda (see at the end of the article). The teams collaborated to provide country-specific insights and solutions, emphasizing inclusive value chains and women's participation in entrepreneurship and agribusiness development.

Dr Nomathemba Mhalanga, Agribusiness Officer from FAO-SFE, and Dr Mark Kofi Fynn, Agro-food Systems and Investment Specialist from the FAO Regional Office for Africa (FAO-RAF) based in Accra, provided critical inputs during group discussions, presentations, and deliberations.

Mr Selvaraj and Ms Nadipalli presented a comprehensive overview of diagnostic studies and potential partners in Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda. Participants also had the opportunity to interact with Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General of ICRISAT

Dr Hughes emphasized the importance of building inclusive value chains that empower all stakeholders, including women, to create impact through entrepreneurship and agribusiness development projects. ​ ​
Writeshop participants with Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT.
Writeshop participants with Dr Jacqueline Hughes, Director General, ICRISAT.

Writeshop Outcome

The outcome of the writeshop was a consolidated draft project proposal that will be finalized by the end of April 2024 and then submitted to targeted donors for funding consideration.

The proposed project envisions partnerships with agribusiness incubators, food processing companies, and other relevant stakeholders in the target countries. Notably, the project aligns with the South-South Initiative of India and Africa, further enhancing its significance.

After the writeshop, certificates were distributed to the participating team members to recognize their contributions to the initiative.

The event also included field visits of the ICRISAT facilities, T-Hub, and Samagri Packhouse and Processing unit, which provided participants with insights into agricultural practices and food processing facilities.

Writeshop teams:

Team Kenya: Dr Willis Owino from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Ms Joyce Mutuku from Tawi Fresh, and Dr Mercy Mwambi from the World Vegetable Center.

Team Malawi: Dr Mequanint Melesse from ICRISAT and Mr Lloyd Phiphira from National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi (NASFAM).

Team Uganda: Mr Joseph Nana Kofi Adin from the African Agribusiness Incubators Network and Ms Tushabe Hasifah from the Uganda Fruits and Vegetables Exporters and Producers Association.

Rapporteurs: ​ Dr Disha Bose, Ms Priyanka Durgalla, and Ms Divya Nancy from AIP.

Technical inputs: Dr Sujaya Sree from the World Vegetable Center, Dr Swamikannu Nedumaran, Mr Srinivas Bollam, and Ms Priyanka Durgalla from ICRISAT.

This work aligns with SDG 17.
This work aligns with SDG 17.
Food and Nutrition Security Agribusiness and Innovation Platform Nutrition, dietary behaviour and Smart Food
About The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is a pioneering International Organization committed to developing and improving dryland farming and agri-food systems to address the challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and environmental degradation affecting the 2.1 billion people residing in the drylands of Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and beyond.

ICRISAT was established under a Memorandum of Agreement between the Government of India and the CGIAR on the 28 March 1972. In accordance with the Headquarters Agreement, the Government of India has extended the status of a specified “International Organisation” to ICRISAT under section 3 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947 of the Republic of India through Extraordinary Gazette Notification No. UI/222(66)/71, dated 28 October 1972, issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

Our offices:

Asia: India (Headquarters - Hyderabad)

East and Southern Africa:  Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe

West and Central Africa: Mali, Niger, Nigeria

For all media inquiries, please email:

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
Hyderabad, Telangana, India