New funding from IDRC will help better inform policy options to address food price shocks in Africa’s fragile contexts News

23 March, 2023

OTTAWA, March 23, 2023 – The Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) Programme, funded by UK Aid through the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), was awarded funding by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in the amount of approximately CAD 0.6 million to examine the impact of commodity and food price increases in Africa’s fragile environments.

The new funding will support rapid research to understand the drivers and impacts of rising prices in Africa’s conflict-affected environments. The research will aim to guide decision-makers and donors in their policy and institutional responses to ensure that livelihoods are protected, and poverty gains are sustained. The additional IDRC funding for SPARC will focus on the following priority themes:

  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and other internal and external shocks on domestic prices of staple foods, fertilizer, fuel and cooking oil.
  • The impact of global food price increases on domestic prices.
  • The impact of price increases on consumer and producer behaviours and practices, including actions by governments and civil society stakeholders.
  • The disproportionate impact of food price increases on women vs. men.

“Africa’s fragile environments are highly vulnerable to the ongoing food price shocks. Understanding the root causes and the contributing factors of food price increases is critical to designing tailored local policies and effective donor support. The new IDRC funding provided to SPARC will be an important contribution to protecting livelihoods for Africa’s populations”, said Mark Redwood, Executive Director, SPARC Programme.

The IDRC grant will complement ongoing activities in the UK-funded SPARC Programme. SPARC is a research initiative focused on finding solutions to the challenges of conflict, fragility, poverty and climate vulnerability for people in the Sahel. SPARC facilitates cross-country research and engagement that builds local capacity to integrate knowledge into effective policy responses. SPARC interventions mobilize multiple global and regional development stakeholders and are designed to accommodate new donor funding and partnerships to address complex development challenges that stand at the intersection of sustainable agriculture and livelihoods, gender equality and climate change.

About the SPARC Programme

The Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) is a six-year research programme made up of diverse member organisations with a wealth of expertise. The consortium is led by Cowater International, working in partnership with ODI, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Mercy Corps. The programme is funded by UK Aid through the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). SPARC aims to generate evidence and address knowledge gaps to build the resilience of millions of pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and farmers in these communities in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

About Cowater International

Founded in 1985, Cowater International is a leading global development consulting company. Headquartered in Ottawa and with corporate hubs in Brussels, London (UK) and Montreal, Cowater International has successfully delivered a portfolio of over 2500 projects and assignments in more than 95 countries. We work with governments, private sector actors and communities, implementing projects that support socio-economic development, institutional strengthening, environmental improvements, and advance equal opportunities for all. We are a diverse and experienced team committed to building a better tomorrow for the people we serve.

About IDRC

As part of Canada’s foreign affairs and development efforts, the International Development Research Centre funds high-quality research in developing countries, shares knowledge with researchers and policymakers to inform local and global action, and mobilizes alliances to drive global positive change for a more sustainable and inclusive world.

Cover photo: Fishing village in Orimedu, Nigeria

Photo credit: Arne Hoel/World Bank

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