Global Resources

Sustainable food security: re-igniting Nigeria's economy via systems strengthening

Author: W. Ogundare
Publication Date: Aug 2015

The use of ‘systems strengthening’ can help achieve food and nutrition security, contribute to growing a more sustainable economy, and better respond to inherent systemic challenges. That is the argument set forth in this topic brief, from the perspective of a Nigerian context. The brief shows how the principles behind systems strengthening can be used when scaled up to achieve a cohesive, efficient, and just global food security agenda.


To begin, the authors define systems strengthening as the process of identifying and implementing changes in policy, ownership, mindset, and practice across multiple systems, in this case the agricultural, nutrition, and health systems in Nigeria. This is done via an array of initiatives and strategies that improves the functions of multiple, interlinked sectors such that access, coverage, quality, and efficiency are concurrently increased. The second half of the brief is dedicated to communicating nine key building blocks for a global food security agenda, most of which form the very basis of strategic initiatives behind the systems strengthening approach:


  • Prioritising equitable development, particularly through the empowerment of women who are fundamental in driving change in nutrition and food security.
  • Ensuring access to nutritious food through comprehensive approaches to food and nutrition security that include policies, programmes, and investments that are sensitive to all the needs of every group, especially children, mothers, and the most vulnerable.
  • Recognising the key role of agriculture and rural development in eliminating poverty, hunger, and malnutrition, and supporting the sector accordingly.
  • Agricultural and food systems must be sustainable, climate sensitive, and aim to improve the management and diversity of ecosystems.
  • Reinforcing resilience to natural and man-made disasters that are expected to increase in frequency and intensity due to climate change.
  • A focus on food security and waste throughout value chains, including post-harvest processing and consumer waste.
  • Ensuring responsible investment in agriculture and food systems that is inclusive of and empowers farmers and small producers.
  • Ensuring efficient, equitable, and stable food systems through inclusive and transparent governance at all scales
  • Fostering an inclusive macroeconomic approach that recognises the interdependence of urban, rural, and peri-urban communities.