Initiative Result:

Policies help governments navigate the cost-of-living challenge

In 2023, National Policies and Strategies (NPS) made a significant impact, supporting governments in Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Odisha (India), Kenya, Nigeria, and Rwanda by providing critical policy advice to address the high-cost-of-living crisis. The results boost food security and livelihoods.

Building on the impact assessment of the Ukraine-Russia war conducted in collaboration with the Foresight Initiative in 2022, partner governments requested further policy support from NPS specifically related to agricultural, economic, and social policy areas. NPS responded swiftly to these requests, fostering a collaborative approach by co-creating 16 new policy outcomes with its national partners.

A confluence of crises, both global and local, in the past few years has led to a rise in poverty, malnutrition, and a significant strain on national economies. From increasing food and energy prices to the depreciation of local currencies and reduced fiscal space, these challenges have had a significant impact on the most vulnerable populations in particular. To address these challenges, and recognizing that effective solutions require a deep understanding of local contexts and stakeholder needs, NPS continued to expand its collaborative approach in 2023. This entailed working closely with government officials, agricultural experts, national think tanks, and the private sector in each partner country. This collaborative spirit ensured policy recommendations were not only technically sound but also trusted by partners. Examples of this targeted support include:

Fertilizer policy reforms: Research by NPS revealed the negative impact of high fertilizer prices on poverty, informing the launch of a national fertilizer subsidy program in Kenya, with follow-on research recommending to improve program targeting and increase private sector involvement in the subsidy program. NPS research also informed recommendations on fertilizer sector deregulation to attract private investment in local production and distribution in Nigeria, aiming to improve access and affordability for farmers. Similarly, research in Ethiopia highlighted affordability as a key constraint for fertilizer adoption and provided critical data to guide reforms.

Social safety nets and gender policy: To combat the cost-of-living crisis, NPS actively aided partner governments in strengthening social safety nets and gender policies. In Egypt, findings from the evaluation of the Takaful and Karama cash transfer programs and the related graduation program, Forsa, supported the government’s decision to expand the programs from 2.2 to 3.8 million households and adjust programs’ designs. In India, NPS supported an inspirational information campaign that empowers women and builds resilience, and is informing the design of the Vulnerable Tribal Group Empowerment and Livelihood Improvement Program.

Economic policy and agricultural investments: Research in Nigeria and Egypt updated policymakers on the impacts of high inflation and removing fuel subsidies. NPS research is also helping to shape:

  • The Livestock Strategy (PSTA-5) and Investment Policy in Rwanda.
  • The agricultural investment plans in Kenya.
  • The National Fishery and Aquaculture Plan and the National
  • Potato Strategy in Nigeria.
  • Food system transformation in Odisha/India.
  • Land policies in Colombia.

    In Kenya, NPS further strengthened the science-policy interface to inform food system transformation in the context of the national development strategy, the Kenya Bottom-up Economic Transformation Plan.

    NPS work continues to be a testament to the power of collaborative research to inform policymaking. Looking ahead, NPS stands ready to partner with a renewed sense of urgency to address emerging challenges and ensure inclusive, sustainable transformation of food, land, and water systems.

    We look forward to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development’s continued collaboration with IFPRI, CGIAR and other partners in creating research-based policy recommendations that will lead to a brighter, healthier future for all Kenyans.

    Honorable, Mithika Linturi, Cabinet Secretary (Minister) of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Kenya

    Header photo: A women applies fertilizer in Kenya. Das/CIMMYT.

    Contributing Initiatives

    Foresight; Gender Equality.

    CGIAR Centers