Transitions to Agroecological Food Systems

The main objective of the project is to provide policy makers and stakeholders with convincing arguments about the importance and adapted ways of promoting agroecological transitions in order to address current and coming sustainability challenges.


Read the TAFS Concept Note.


The TAFS research reflects a collective effort by about thirty researchers involved in five platforms in partnership for research and training. These platforms are Cirad’s main modality of collaboration with its partners in several projects and actions of research, training and development in three continents (Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America).


In Africa, the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GOVINN) is a joint centre in South Africa between the University of Pretoria and Cirad.

This first step documents what agroecology (AE) means in each participating country of the TAFS project. It investigates the degree of institutionalisation of AE in the existing policy framework, the processes related to its emergence, and the role played by different stakeholders in the public debate. This investigation will make possible to draw out the issues (challenges, themes, methods) surrounding the conceptualisation and implementation of agroecological policies in the country.


Read the TAFS Phase One report. 


The second step develops in-depth case studies investigating the experiences of agroecological transitions in Umzimvubu in the Eastern Cape, eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal and Overberg in the Western Cape. Each case study explore the question:


“What are the essential characteristics of territorial food systems and sub-systems in each site, taking into consideration actors and practices, sub-system products and food flows, and the inter-relationship between actors/practices within and between sub-systems?”

These case studies share new evidence and on-going experiences about the contribution of agroecological food systems to a) the supply of sufficient, affordable, nutritious and healthy food; b) the generation of decent labour and incomes for households and; c) the sound management of natural resources at the territorial level in the context of climate change.


Case study 1: Agroecological initiatives in Overberg District, Western Cape 


Case study 2: Agroecological initiatives in Matatiele and Umzimvubu, Eastern Cape 


Case study 3: Agroecological initiatives in eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal


The African Centre for biodiversity recently conducted a detailed review of 22 key policies across agriculture, environment and other sectors to identify strengths and weaknesses of the existing suite of policies in South Africa, in the context of ongoing biodiversity loss, the climate crisis and an increasingly unsustainable agri-food system. Download the detailed report and the policy brief that highlights the key findings of the report.



The Department of Science and Innovation-National Research Foundation Centre of Excellence in Food Security (CoE-FS) was launched on 15 April 2014 to undertake innovative research to enable South Africa to tackle the challenge of food security and nutrition.





The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) is the first research institution in Africa dedicated entirely to governance innovation.

GovInn is  an ‘innovation laboratory’ capable of generating new thinking about governance and development. It focuses on cutting-edge research, attracting innovators from all over the world. In short, GovInn is an intellectual ‘inn’ for innovation in the 21st century.






CIRAD is the French agricultural research and cooperation organization working for the sustainable development of tropical and Mediterranean regions.