This project aimed to create greater policy awareness of the future issues and a greater collaboration between policy and research on using new approaches to support transformation of food systems.
This project builds upon two earlier projects. The first one, completed in March 2020, mapped the food systems in the EGP and explored the major trends, drivers of change, and uncertainties in the system in a series of 9 Status Reports for Bangladesh, India and Nepal with a focus on the EGP region. It also created a coalition of national partners who are interested in the foresight process and organized participatory learning workshops to generate interest in and ideas for foresight for food activities at local and regional levels. The ongoing second project is focused on carrying out participatory foresight activities with farming communities in Bangladesh, West Bengal, and Nepal Terai and modelling exercises to identify potential ways to build a more sustainable food-energy-water nexus in India.
The project will prepare a regional report on foresight for food systems in the EGP region that synthesizes the big picture analysis and the inputs from local level participatory foresight exercises, to share the findings with the policymakers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders from the region, and connect the work done on foresight for food under the Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP) with similar work by other national and international organisations. Planning and envisioning how food systems cope with big expected and unexpected shocks (black swan events) is an important part of foresight for food exercises. The project will also use the COVID-19 experience to explore the impact of a major disruption in the food system.
Expected project outcomes
- Analysing the role of some of the key aspects of the food systems in the EGP that have been ignored in most of the existing academic and policy analysis.
- Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on farm households in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal with a focus on understanding the impact of the lockdown on
i) Rabi harvests and price realisation for Rabi crops and
ii) the sowing/transplantation of Kharif crops.
- Reporting on the regional food system in the EGP that will highlight similarities and differences in the opportunities and challenges faced by smallholders across the three countries and highlighting opportunities for regional cooperation to build a more resilient and sustainable food system.
- Organising a high-level forum on the outlook for sustainable, healthy, and profitable food systems in the Eastern Gangetic Plains and the linkages with water and energy security.