About FoodSTART+

Objectives and Approach

Food Resilience Through Root and Tuber Crops in Upland and Coastal Communities of the Asia-Pacific (FoodSTART+) is a three-year research project (2015-2018) funded by the European Union and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). It builds on and expands upon the scope of the completed IFAD-supported Food Security Through Asian Root and Tuber Crops (FoodSTART) project (2011-2015).

The overall goal of FoodSTART+ is to enhance food resilience among poor households in upland and coastal communities of the Asia-Pacific region through the introduction of root and tuber crops (RTCs) innovations. To achieve this goal at scale, the project develops, validates and implements effective partnership strategies with IFAD large scale development-oriented investment projects to promote RTCs for food security.

Project primary beneficiary countries are India, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. CIP leads implementation in India and Philippines while CIAT is the lead in Indonesia and Vietnam as well as for the GIS project component. Supplementary beneficiary countries are China and Myanmar.

By drawing upon FoodSTART’s knowledge base, challenges and learning, FoodSTART+ envisions to provide a more robust RTC-based food resilience model with which to go to scale.

Recent CIP and IFAD analyses underscored RTCs’ longstanding contribution to achieving food security among poor rural farming households in the Asia Pacific. Agri-food systems of these local households have also been found to be under increased vulnerability to various external biophysical and socio-economic risks and shocks.

There is an urgent need to determine how RTCs could help sustain food security through adaptive management strategies for enhancing food resilience.

FoodSTART+ directly supports IFAD’s strategic framework 2016-2025 (see diagram below). Within IFAD’s Asia Pacific Division, the project is closely aligned with the current Country Strategic Opportunities Programmes (COSOP) which increasingly focus on enhancing the capacities of poor rural people to adapt to climate change.

The project objectives are:

  1. a) to identify gender-responsive needs and opportunities through vulnerability assessments among food insecure RTCs producing and consuming households;
  2. b) to design and implement innovations with partners and local stakeholders that enhance food resilience;
  3. c) to develop and validate effective partnership strategies with IFAD investment projects in promoting RTCs for food security at scale.

The project’s key components are:

  1. Scoping studies which includes the mapping of food vulnerability relating to RTC production and use;
  2. Research for development (R4D) partnership development;
  3. Needs and opportunities analysis on gender sensitive RTC innovations;
  4. R4D action planning and launching;
  5. Documentation and knowledge products development.

Potential partner IFAD investment projects were identified during the proposal development consultations. Initial scoping studies in each potential partner project location have identified concrete R&D actions and topics or issues where further study is required, as well as helped in the consolidation of the working relationships. Scooping studies results, findings from follow-up research, and consistent interaction with IFAD-funded investment projects drive the development of collaborative workplans between FoodSTART+ and investment projects.

FoodSTART+ is coordinated by the International Potato Center (CIP), in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). The project works closely with the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).