Our Research


Food is a basic necessity of life. How our food is gathered or grown, processed, distributed, consumed and then either recycled or disposed of is called our food system. SADC region once supported its inhabitants with abundant and bounty of foods from the SADC countries, the Rivers and the sea. Over the last 50 or 60 years there has been a movement away from meeting SADC region food needs through local food production; and a corresponding shift towards increased imports (70%) from off the SADC region (Mulala Simatele, 2012). In light of climate change impacts on both local and global agriculture, and the economic fragility of our SADC farm and food processing and distribution sector, the sustainability of our current food system is not only in question but in emergency or crisis.
Food Security and Food Sovereignty are terms used throughout this CASED FOUNDATION.ORG 2030 PROJECT. The definition for Food security is found in the quote a head. Increasing the agricultural productive capacity of the SADC Countries, through “LESI” via permaculture practices methods which are sustainable as well as economically and socially beneficial to SADC small-scale farmers and local communities, helps further define this project as one more closely related to food sovereignty, defined as “The peoples’ right to define their own policies and strategies for the sustainable production, distribution and consumption of food that guarantee the right to food for the entire population, on the basis of small and medium- sized production, respecting their own cultures and ... diversity” (World Forum on Food Sovereignty, 2001). Since this definition was created there have been numerous forums and writings on food sovereignty, highlighting the complexity of this concept.


Sourcing good quality food closer to home is a key theme on SADC and a major topic of sustainability and adaptation to climate change debates in local communities and around the globe.

The dominant food system has been shaped by many factors including international and national government research and policy alongside the proliferation of a profit driven global food industry and economy.

While the current food system has provided benefits to some of the world's population the sustainability of this dominant system is currently in question. The results include far-reaching environmental effects: significant greenhouse gas emissions through heavy use of fossil fuels and nitrogen based fertilizers (McMichael et al., 2007; Carlsson-Kanyama & Gonzalez, 2009); polluted lands and waters from extensive agrochemical use (Moss, 2008; Kurtz, 2005); contamination of crops with genetically modified organisms (Belcher et al. 2005); loss of biodiversity on and off farm resulting from reliance on single species crops and intensive agricultural practices (Francis, 2004; Goland and Bauer, 2004; Thrupp, 2000); and business development and marketing challenges.

The reinvestment in agriculture, triggered by the 2008 food price crisis, is essential to the concrete realization of the right to food. However, in a context of ecological, food and energy crises, the most pressing issue regarding reinvestment is not how much, but how.

This project explores how SADC 12 States can and must achieve a reorientation of their agricultural systems towards Low external sustainable input (LESI) methods of food production that are highly productive, highly sustainable and that contribute to the progressive realization of the human right to adequate food (De Schutter, 2010, Summary).

These findings are in line with what we heard through the Local Food Project as strategies for increasing food security on SADC region.

Geographically, SADC region is blessed with a temperate climate and fertile soils, which make it a prime location for food production. However, high land values, increasing labour and input costs, and loss of processing and distribution infrastructure, coupled with a shrinking farming population has threatened the viability of the local food system on the SADC countries and consequently threatens food security of the local people (M’BAMBI, 2017). The SADC’s many communities are also vulnerable to transportation interruptions as a result of conflict(s), natural disaster(s), or fuel shortages. Food sustainability and security are very real concerns for many residents of the SADC Region.


The fundamental goals of a regional food system approach are:

  1. To maximize the potential for SADC regional self-reliance with regard to food;
  2. To achieve a high minimum standard of quality food provision for all of the SADC region's residents;
  3. To sustain and develop the resources upon which the whole system depends;
  4. To start now the more we procrastinate the more costly it will be down the line.
  5. WITWATERSRAND University (WITSU), Department Human Geography, conducted a feasibility study for an Agriculture Resource and Innovation farming system methods that are under the supervision of Professor Mulala Danny Simatele concluded in June 2018, the urgency for food security actions in the 12 SADC Countries.

    In contrast to the overall decline of agriculture in the SADC region, M’BAMBI, PhD study finds that small and medium-scale agriculture is expanding in the SADC region due to the growing demand for local food production and processing and the desire to seek food production and processing methods that are environmentally sustainable.

    In addition, there is a growing interest in reviving traditional food practices up graded by “LESI” though permaculture practices across the SADC’s region.

    The study also identified a growing demand for education, enabling legislation, removal of barriers, coordination, and research and resource services in order to advance:

    Economic viability, local food production, socially-responsible and environmentally- sustainable practices, agriculture business management, value-added processing, and direct farm marketing, as well as culinary arts and agro-tourism, consumer and health education, home-based food production, processing and preserving, and food safety, bio-security, and food security knowledge in all the 12 SADC Countries.

    We also know that local food producers may focus on food production, and may have little access to support for entrepreneurial business development. This means that attention must turn to better access to information on operational challenges, marketing advantages of local food producers – such as place or family, cooperation in marketing, opportunities for diversification of income, training needs, and policy frameworks rethinking (M’BAMBI, 2018).

    Ph.D. Candidate M’VITA D M’BAMBI


    Engineering New and Emerging Communities

      A "new and emerging community" is an ethnic community that has experienced a significant percentage increases in the number of people in the jurisdiction in recent years. For example, the Continental African community has grown from a predominantly student population in the seventies to a growing multidisciplinary community of first and, second generation immigrants.

      At the same time, given their relatively smaller numbers and shorter length of presence in the jurisdiction compared to older communities, new and emerging communities do not have the benefit of an established community, including mainstream sociocultural support. These characteristics are common among new and emerging small-scale farmer communities in the SADC region, African cities:

    1. They do not have significantly developed community infrastructure. This may include specialist ethno-specific services, research and think tanks institutions, and media that provide avenues for advocacy, sharing information and community development, including care for vulnerable populations such as the aged and youths.
    2. They also comprise of residents who do not have English language skills.
    3. Leadership may comprise of individuals who are unfamiliar with mainstream advocacy and constituency services.
    4. They tend not to have influential infrastructure and organizations that attract sustainable funding for development.
    5. They may not be factored in existing public policies, regular discussions/ dialogues, resource allocations, and they are usually minimal or no data that supports inclusion.
    6. They have hard-to-reach populations that are not easily accessible through regular media, polling, research or outreach.
    7. Generally, the communities have untapped civic, social and economic capabilities. Notably, the SADC Continental African community is reputedly the most educated demographic group than the rural communities.
    8. Given the above characteristics, new and emerging communities experience access barriers that can be defined as " special needs" but also have potentials that require special efforts to realize.
    9. Undoubtedly, in an increasingly diverse jurisdiction, new and emerging communities change the dynamics of the neighborhood, workforce, schools, city, district, county and state.
    10. When the populations are suitably included in all facets of development, the results foster the vitality of the jurisdiction. The discussions on the challenges and viable solutions may fall under the following policy objectives:
    11. A Healthy and Sustainable Community that includes culturally relevant approaches;
    12. Vital Living for all Residents with a focus on vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations;
    13. Children Prepared to Live and Learn with a focus on proactive risk-reduction and intervention;
    14. Data that is at the core of a Responsive and Accountable Country government.
    15. How can we solve our community’s poverty, hunger, healthy and education problems as an all, Black, Indian and White together?