Solution Cluster 5.2.1

Enhance local production for local consumption


The solution cluster embraces the principle of ‘leave no-one behind’, is rooted in food availability and human capital development and takes a holistic, ecosystem approach. The proposition is that without social and economic resilience in food systems, with complementary tools for greater environmental resilience, it will be impossible for some countries and their peoples (women, youth, children, fisherfolk and pastoralists) to meet the SDG goals by 2030. When used as a blueprint for local development, which adds value within local economies, this solution cluster will create impact for achievement of several SDGs, (notably SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, while the coalition-building approach addresses SDG 17) to fulfil the 2030 goals.

In countries where fragility persists, locally produced food can contribute to resilience of the vulnerable and resource-poor by increasing food availability, enhancing nutrition, improving farmers’ livelihoods and creating job opportunities for other disadvantaged groups. By adding value within local supply chains and markets, this approach contributes to improved local revenues. The approach will require increased public and private partnerships, leveraging domestic finance for local investment and fair and equitable land use and land planning. The socio-economic benefits of the approach can also maintain stability in countries or regions where the prospects of conflicts are high and where social cohesion is threatened.

Description of the problem 

No more than one quarter of total food produced crosses international boundaries which illustrates the importance of local food systems for food resilience. This was evidenced during the COVID-19 pandemic, when trade restrictions and export controls caused food security issues, especially in urban areas. In this way, the pandemic has shown that overdependence on external markets can be a threat for local food security and appropriate nutrition as well as impacting local economies. 

Three quarters of total food produced is consumed at national level but in many cases this food does not reach some communities – in particular, poor communities across urban, peri urban and rural districts. At the same time, a large volume of locally-produced food is lost due to lack of processing and storage facilities, limited transport and market infrastructure within territories, and low levels of local trade resulting in significant losses and a limited nutritional basket leading to poor nutrition (lack of key micronutrients) and food shortages that threaten human wellbeing as well as social cohesion and peace.

The solutions received for this cluster highlighted many of the underlying problems of current food systems, which this solution cluster aims to address. For problems identified see Annex 1.


The vision of the solution cluster is to ensure that its thematic areas of Local Production for Local Consumption, Public Procurement, Increasing Women’s Agency for Resilience through Economic Empowerment of Women and Youth and Securing Access to Land and Resources are applied systematically and synergistically and through coalition building of all actors that will contribute to economic, social and environmental resilience of all food systems.


The objectives of the solution cluster will be to:

  • Implement a set of complementary, highly synergetic measures to boost local production and stimulate the market economy, addressing both the supply and demand sides of food systems and compelling inputs from the public and private sectors, as well as development partners
  • Provide governments with the tools and support to create a conducive environment for the development of strong and diverse local food chains, capable of ensuring the supply and consumption of enough, nutritious and affordable foods for all, in all circumstances. These local food chains should be inclusive, ensure an equitable distribution of value and rely on sustainable practices. 
  • Empower women’s agency to contribute to the social, economic and environmental resilience of local food systems through transformative impact financing for gender responsive service delivery. 
  • Create opportunities for youth and empowerment of marginalized peoples which are central to all programmes.
  • Support and make access to land and resources fair.
  • Ensure food security and resilience are factored within local planning and local government budgets.

Thematic Areas

The objectives will be delivered through four thematic areas which are interlinked and provide a framework for building coalitions around actionable programmes. This approach proposes a set of complementary, highly synergetic measures to boost local production and stimulate the market economy with compelling inputs from the public and private sectors. The thematic areas are in Annex 2.

About this Solution Cluster

Without appropriate policy measures and increased investments, many local food systems, especially in developing countries, will remain vulnerable to crisis, shocks and other stresses. These countries, and regions within countries, will face growing inequality, persistent poverty and chronic malnutrition. With the right policy mix, including improved governance to ensure universal access to food, greater access to local finance and access to land and its utilisation, local food systems can be catalysts for increased resilience and inclusive development.

More local production can expand opportunities for income generation, employment and trade at the local level. It can enhance the opportunities for women, youth, small holder farmers, fisherfolk and pastoralists to achieve greater economic empowerment. It can also lead to re-appreciation of local, often neglected and underutilized, species that hold the potential to respond to threats from climate change, strengthen ecosystem services, address seasonal gaps in food security and improve diet quality. It can increase value within local food systems and help to reinvest this for improved local development and enhanced quality of life.

Local production contributes to increased food systems’ sustainability by reducing food miles and the associated GHG emissions that will enable countries progress towards meeting the targets of the Paris Agreement. It enhances the nutritional basket and creates better access to a variety of food. Improved facilities for processing, storage and markets can reduce the post-harvest losses that significantly contribute to global GHG emissions while keeping communities in poverty.

The local dimension of development, for example local trade in local and sometimes regional markets, is essential for local economies and societies to transform. Local development draws from local assets to add value that is inclusively shared locally through infrastructure, services, value chains and environmental benefits. Community, local, farmers’, border and wet markets are key places for food trade and domestic markets are still the most important ones.

In short, local, resilient food systems are important for increased human and planetary health and inclusive economic growth. The solutions within this cluster have been shown to have an impact; are scalable; can be extended to all areas; and above all are sustainable and equitable.

The solution cluster will address the objectives of AT5 on resilience and vulnerability as it will support small-scale farmers/producers as well as medium sized enterprises that can generate employment and opportunities for value addition in order to benefit local communities and households economically in the value chain. When applied systematically and using a collaborative approach based on national development priorities, the four thematic areas will enhance the development functionality and sustainability of local food systems, helping to build resilience to shocks and stresses by improving the robustness of local food systems, improving incomes and agency of food-system actors, increasing the availability and supply of fresh and nutritious food for all, including the “last-mile groups”, women, youth, indigenous peoples and school children in school feeding programmes.

A cross-section of partners is already on board, including member states that have submitted solutions, local private sector organisations, farmers organisations, civil society organisations and academia.

Several initiatives and policies are already in place, which this solution cluster could bring under a single umbrella, providing overall coherence and synergy. 

Proposition 1 – Public Procurement – see Annex 3

Proposition 2 – Increasing Women’s Agency – see Annex 3

Problems identified in solutions reviewed for Solution Cluster 2.1


  1. The triple burden of nutrition (overnutrition, undernutrition and micronutrient deficiency)
  2. A deepening inequality of food availability
  3. Lack of food system governance by governments
  4. Inadequate governments’ capacity to mobilise finance and develop national policies
  5. Lack of jobs for women, youth and the marginalized
  6. Low gender inclusion in policies
  7. Low women participation in value chains
  8. The disruptive effects on local food systems of international food procurement by humanitarian agencies
  9. Lack of innovation to include the poor and marginalized in the value chain
  10. Lack of access to research innovation and technology for farmers
  11. Food supply chains are disrupted in times of conflict, shock and stress
  12. Environmental issues caused by the lack of or poor utilization of recycled materials
  13. Absence of blended funding mechanisms to address the low incomes of women and youth
  14. Inequitable distribution of land and control over allocation and resources

Thematic Areas

a. Local production for local consumption.

This thematic area aims at improving food system resilience by promoting both the offer and demand of local products, leading to the reinforcement of local food systems. shorter food chains offer advantages in terms of producer empowerment, food independence, resilience to shocks, food diversification, income generation or environmental sustainability.

Solutions submitted by the Farmers’ Forum of India, UNEP, RUAF, Rikolto, Minnesota Farmers Union, Republic of Korea, Japan, France.

b. Public procurement

This thematic area is intended to systematize and scale institutional demand (public and private) and local procurement strategies (complemented by in-the-value-chain-interventions) to incentivize the transformation to more equitable, sustainable local supply chains. Large buyers of food at the local level – both public and private – can leverage their purchasing power to strengthen local value chains (reduce risk, set standards, develop skills, and smooth transaction costs) and promote fair and transparent relationships among the different players. Actors may deploy specific purchasing principles, criteria and tools to safeguard the interest of the weakest players along the value chain and strengthen their agency and bargaining power. These strategies maximize the multiplier effects of the funds injected in local economies by strengthening the resilience and capacities of smallholders and small and medium agricultural enterprises (SMEs) along the value chain.

Solutions submitted by the World Food Programme and the European Union.  

c. Increasing women’s agency for resilience through economic empowerment of women and youth

This thematic area focusses on empowering and increasing women’s agency that will contribute to building the social, economic, and environmental resilience of local food systems. A transformative solution for women and girls that helps them build their agency through better access to livelihood opportunities in local food production can also improve universal access to food. Our approach supports building inclusive economies through a transformative-impact financing that focuses on gender responsive service delivery, infrastructure investment, and local economic development. The solution promotes gender and youth responsive economic growth and aims to better distribute economic benefits of agriculture and improved local food systems.

Solutions submitted by UNCDF, African Farmers’ Association and the USA.

d. Securing access to land and resources

Inequitable distribution and lack of access to land and natural resources are major causes of hunger and poverty because they are limiting factors in local food production.  Access and tenure security influence the decisions producers make, their appetite for investment and risk, their options for credit, or the adoption of sustainable farming practices. This is particularly the case for women, who have an increasing role in agriculture but are often disadvantaged by discriminatory customs, laws and procedures.  In another vein, abandonment or underutilization of arable agricultural lands correlates with food insecurity and results in economical and potential production loss. Lack of land ownership and resource rights are experienced by the majority of smallholder farmers as often faced with land grabbing and unfair contracts by businesses.

Solutions submitted by Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC), USA, Turkey

Proposition 1 – Public Procurement

In relation to public procurement, procurement funds (from public and private actors) incentivize value chain transformation by providing a secure or facilitated market for smallholder farmers and small and micro/small/medium-sized (MSMEs) in the value chain. Many donor countries have shown interest in the idea of using the organizational purchasing power for the benefit of local economies and local value chains.

WFP’s Executive Board approved a corporate Procurement Policy in 2019, with the objective to leverage WFP’s purchasing power – roughly US$ 800 million per year – to support the development of fair and equitable value chains and to increase the supply of nutritious institutional food in various contexts.

The EU policy on humanitarian food assistance, adopted in 2010, privileges local purchase when food aid is deemed the most appropriate tool. 

Proposed Actions

  • In the humanitarian context,
    • Whenever possible, humanitarian actors shall prioritise local sourcing of public procurement. This may require accompanying measures, such as enhanced support for smallholder farmers, SMEs and MSMEs, women and youth. For example, in 2015, WFP purchased 2.2 million metric tons of food worth 1.07 billion US$. About three quarters of this food came from developing countries. WFP also procured, locally, logistic services for 963 million US$ and Goods & Services worth 587 million US$ in 2015.
  • In the non-humanitarian context
    • Assess relationships between institutions and food system suppliers. There are several models for procurement policies, including: a) Contract Model, which usually takes on the form of a request for proposal (RFP) or invitation for bid (IFB) that is reliant upon a guiding set of principles for proposals and for the review process. b) Permit Model, referring that a healthy food retailer serving in official public spaces (municipal buildings, public parks, recreation centers) requires a permit. c) Grant Model, which means that a public agency or institution providing financial support or resources to a non-governmental organization (NGO) or non-profit entity stipulates in the contract what types of food purchases can be made with these financial resources.
  • Identify appropriate model for procurement policy implementation based on local and national legal contexts. There are several models, including: Governments set up Targeted percentage of local food purchases by new legislations; Mandated percent price preference (This model requires agencies to purchase locally-produced food when its price is within a designated percentage of the cost of similar food that is not sourced locally); Resolution or Statement of Support for Local Purchasing (This option affirms the local jurisdiction’s or state legislature’s support of local food but does not mandate local preference. A resolution might set a targeted percentage goal towards which it encourages state agencies to commit)
  • Empower small and mid-sized farmers and connect them with buyers. While connecting with established farmers will ensure consistent produce to serve institutional needs, consider reaching out to smaller farmers and working to grow their capacity. Aggregating produce from several farmers in a food hub model can help support this smaller production farms and allow them to grow and benefit from local food procurement policies. In order to do so, governments should develop policies, including land rights issues, allocate budgetary resources for infrastructure and ICT programmes that will stimulate local food production
  • Identify stakeholders and partners for advocacy, including private sectors players. Creating, adopting, and implementing a local procurement policy requires the buy-in from many different stakeholders representing the entire food system as well as local government, NGOs, community leaders, among others. The following is a list of types of entities to include in local procurement policy planning: State and local policymakers: elected and appointed officials, county and city health officials, Task force and/or food policy councils, Local farmers and growers, Local residents and consumers, Producers and distributors that support local growers, Food entrepreneurs, Labor organizations, National and state policy organizations, Community-based organizations, Community residents and farmers.
  • The private sector, especially in the hospitality sector, to commit to locally sourced food and support farmers by buying through approved channels, to shorten the supply chain.
  • Development partners to support governments’ capacity building efforts and providing support for raising finance for development programmes, ICT and national priorities that support food systems transformation

Proposition 2 – Increasing Women’s Agency

The proposition aims to increase women’s agency for resilience through economic empowerment opportunities in local food systems which rely heavily on women. It proposes to bring affordable capital and blended finance to local economies through multi-stakeholder partnerships in collaboration with local governments and private sector to promote investments in food security and resilience through active involvement of women and youth.

This proposition builds on solid tested models that implement comprehensive approaches to inclusive local development, promoting environmental management and food security, enhanced national and local resource allocation, and promoting public, private and PPP investments that increase women and youth economic empowerment.

Based on UNCDF’s experience, a customized mix of finance structuring services and financial products for locally owned gender responsive businesses can support incubation projects that are critical for local food systems. Gender responsive elements can be built into investment projects and enterprises through specific measures for increasing women’s economic empowerment and agency, through ownership of assets, ensuring their decision-making and governance roles, improved employment and flexible work opportunities, safety and security in the work environment, and child care facilities.[1]  Similarly for youth, such an approach can provide greater local employment and enterprise opportunities and pathways for economic empowerment and growth by expanding and diversifying opportunities within local food systems and local economies.  

Proposed actions:

  • Empower local authorities through direct financing and technical assistance to enable them to
    • Conduct gender responsive local economic assessments in targeted localities, and
    • develop a gender responsive local economic model that promote inclusion and equity.
  • Increase gender responsive financing for food and agriculture SMEs and infrastructure projects that will improve local income of the poor, particularly women and youth.
  • Develop tools that will allow systemic integration of gender and youth priorities in local development planning and investment decisions related to agriculture and food security.
  • Ensure active participation of women in decision making processes including decisions related to local investments, planning and budgets.
  • Partner with domestic banks and financial institutions to design and implement gender responsive funding mechanisms (such as blended finance facilities and guarantee funds) that can help to de-risk financing and increase access to capital for women/youth businesses without requiring/or with limited collateral requirements.
  • Provide technical support to women and youth led local solutions that contribute to local food systems diversity and value and sustainable natural resource management and ecosystems.

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