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Food Security III Cooperative Agreement Projects

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1. Partnering with African institutions, USAID Missions, and individual analysts and decision makers.
2. Integrating research, outreach, capacity building and institutional strengthening.
3. A focus on both individual and collective action.
4. “Disaggregated” research that looks below the macro level to examine regional, village, household, and gender-level impacts.
5. Conducting policy analysis with attention to implementation in the real-world setting of a given country.

Strategic Research Themes and Activities.

The overall research perspective of FS III views food security broadly in a structural transformation context that takes into account the role of trade, non-farm income generation, and implications for poverty alleviation and sustainable natural resource use. The major proposed research themes were:

  • Improving food systems performance. Sub themes included strengthening agricultural productivity, specific commodity value chains and input/output market performance and trade
  • Understanding household income/livelihood dynamics. Illustrative topics included the level and distribution of rural assets, collective actions for financing social and infrastructure investments, and responding to rising prime-age mortality 
  • Understanding food security/natural resource management interactions — towards a greener and safer food security.

Capacity-building activities supported the project’s research and outreach objectives.  MSU  partnered with a number of African organizations to implement degree training and short-course/in-service training in research/outreach skills.

Food Security III Cooperative Agreement-Methods

The FS III Cooperative Agreement continued to employ the successful methods developed under the prior food security projects, such as: (1) application of the "joint product/interim report" approach which emphasizes the involvement of host-country analysts and policy makers in the entire research and training process and the timely dissemination of findings via policy-oriented interim reports and; (2) use of the household as an optic for assessing the impact of changes in technologies, institutions and policies on production, income generation and food consumption (see downloadable power point presentation on highlights of the FS III Cooperative Agreement).

Some key operational characteristics of the FS III standard operating procedures were:

  • Its collaborative approach, both with USAID offices and with host-country institutions and individuals. The research was designed jointly with these clients and implemented jointly in a way that strengthened the capacity of local organizations to carry out this type of policy-oriented research and outreach in the future.

  • The commitment of a critical mass of MSU faculty to the program. At the time, the core Food Security faculty team includes 17 members who had over 300 years of professional experience, including some 170 person-years of work on previous MSU African food security projects. Fourteen faculty currently worked full-time on African food security issues, with the remaining three devoting on average over 50% of their time to these issues (exclusive of teaching). Two were African nationals. The team worked closely with other faculty members in MSU's Department of Agricultural Economics, who also have substantial experience in Africa and other developing areas and work extensively with African students. Most of the faculty team members have lived as long-term residents in some 19 Sub Sahara African (SSA) countries, (excluding the experience of African faculty members), provided long-term backstopping support to projects in an additional 7 African countries, and have short-term experience in an additional 4 countries. Their extensive first-hand experience thus covers over 30 SSA countries. Among the various team members, there was professional working proficiency in 14 European and/or African languages. (Core team member profiles.)
  • The core FS III group was sufficiently strong and large that it has attracted outstanding graduate students and has provided extremely valuable backstopping for in-country researchers.
  • The commitment to go beyond macro-level data to analyze critical food security issues. The project emphasized the collecting and analyzing of household, firm, and market-level data to see the people-level involvement and impacts of various measures taken (or not taken) to stimulate economic growth and foster food security: (see FS III training materials on survey research) and (on collection and analysis of cross-sectional household survey data on rural morbidity and mortality: lessons learned from initial surveys.)

Food Security III Cooperative Agreement-Contacts

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Phillip Steffen
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20523
Tel: 202 712 5118
Fax: 202 216 3010

Drs. Duncan Boughton and Eric Crawford
Food Security III Cooperative Agreement
Department of Agricultural Economics
216 Agriculture Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1039
tel: Boughton (517) 432-6659
tel: Crawford (517) 432-2481
fax: (517) 432-1800

Food Security III Cooperative Agreement between US Agency for International Development, EGAT/AG Bureau cooperating closely with Africa/SD Bureau, and MSU Department of Agricultural Economics.