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SASS-y symposium highlights sustainable ag strategies

On 5 December 2018, WorldVeg Eastern and Southern Africa, together with OIKOS East Africa, organized a symposium on sustainable agrifood systems strategies, or SASS, at the WorldVeg regional office in Arusha, Tanzania.

More than 50 international scientists gathered to discuss findings of a consortium funded by the Italian Ministry of Research, under leadership of the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), and in collaboration with four Italian universities: Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca (UNIMIB), Università degli Studi di Pavia (UNIPV), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UNICATT) and Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche (UNISG).

The consortium engaged in a two-year research and dialogue project focusing on what makes local food systems more sustainable, using case studies in Tanzania and Kenya. Environmental sustainability (enhancement of local agrobiodiversity), economic sustainability (better access to markets for farmers), and social sustainability (inclusiveness in global and local food value chains) were reviewed.

Working groups focused on participatory mapping of stakeholders and relevant policies, and identified entry points and policies for more sustainable food systems.

Locally used crops are of major importance to the consortium, and the participants soon discovered they had come to the right place to talk about traditional African vegetables: The WorldVeg Genebank in Arusha holds the continent’s largest and most diverse collection of traditional vegetable seed, and WorldVeg is a leader in conserving and selecting these nutritious, hardy crops.

Symposium attendees in the WorldVeg Eastern and Southern Africa auditorium.

Story and photos: Thomas Dubois

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Discussing environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainability.