QUALITY engagement between farmers, food processors, policy makers and informal food traders is vital in creating resilient food systems.
Healthy Food Africa Southern African Project Manager, William Chilufya said creating platforms for stakeholder discourse contributes to dietary diversity through increasing demand for and access to a wider range of healthy food among all stakeholders.
Mr Chilufya was speaking at the launch of the Lusaka Food Lab in Lusaka on Tuesday.
The Healthy Food Africa Project is being implemented by Hivos Southern Africa, with support from the European Union.
“Through this lab farmers, food processors, retailers, civil society organisations, policy makers and local experts will work together to create, test and innovate technologies, practice and governance arrangements that contribute to a more sustainable resilient and healthy food system for all,” Mr Chilufya said.
He said the healthy Food Africa Project is meant to increase the resilience of food systems, and to link food production to nutrition performance, thereby increasing the range and quality of food products for a healthy diet.
“The labs serve as a deliberative space which allows researchers, practitioners and policymakers to develop lasting relations, common understanding and innovations that will contribute to having healthy foods,” he said.
He said the labs will also enhance the role of the informal sector and boost local economic activity in collaboration with local authorities.
“The lab will also provide training opportunities in health, safety and nutrition marketing, understanding the nutritious benefits of various foods and having the ability to communicate this to various customers,” he said.
Some food challenges faced by vegetable producers that the project will seek to address include access to markets, unsustainable farming practices wastage and losses.