Improving food system resilience through better governance: Lessons from multistakeholder partnerships in Zimbabwe

Food system resilience has become a key objective of the food and nutrition security agenda. Within the three-pronged framework consisting of policy systems, institutional systems, and human capacity, it is important to study the impact of good governance on food system resilience as an institutional resilience-building strategy. Improving food system governance remains a major component of any national strategy for achieving food and nutrition security in developing countries. Yet the relationship between good governance and resilience building remains unexplored. In addition, conventional governance arrangements do not seem to yield the much-anticipated results of achieving food and nutrition security. Therefore, in addition to exploring how governance may aid in building resilience, there is a need to investigate new ways of taking resolute actions that enhance growth and structural transformation in food systems. The multistakeholder partnerships (MSPs) strategy is often proffered as a better governance approach. MSPs aim to enhance shared understanding of food systems and strive to build consensus through dialogue, consultation, and joint analysis. Consequently, the multisectoral nature of MSPs enables them to incorporate extremely important components of food system resilience. MSPs’ inherent decentralized design encourages decentralization of mobilization for community efforts. In this way, the effectiveness and efficiency of such MSP structures may have long-lasting impacts on improving food system resilience within institutional systems, especially at the local level. Therefore, in short, this paper analyzes how to improve food system resilience through better governance using MSPs for food and nutrition security outcomes. Specifically, we draw lessons from the response of MSPs to the food crisis in Zimbabwe that emerged from the El Niño of 2015–2016.