[TAGDev Story] Research and Policy Alliance Advancing Sustainable Food Systems

John Mugonya, an agribusiness professional, had no idea that an orientation class at Egerton University in 2017 would have such an impact on his professional career five years later. TAGDev Organised student Orientation Weeks are critical in preparing students for life-changing events. Mugonya attended this orientation as part of his studies for a Master of Science in Agri-Enterprise Development at Gulu University through the TAGDev program, which led to him working in research institutions to better understand food system problems and find sustainable solutions. Mugonya’s research interests are in food systems, specifically the theory of change and the necessary transitions to enable a food system transformation. This stems from his desire to have an impact on vulnerable communities suffering from food scarcity, malnutrition, and a lack of access to proper health care.

The covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine demonstrate how the global food system is vulnerable. Shocks that disrupt supply and distribution chains cause widespread hunger and poverty, particularly in low-income African countries. Mugonya actively participates in studies aimed at facilitating food system transformation, and he believes that his research contributes to policy, research, and practice relevant to resolving Africa’s perplexing problems. Mugonya co-developed the Business Readiness course in his current role as Programme Manager -Uganda at Agripreneurship Alliance to equip participants with basic business skills and knowledge needed to fully participate in and contribute to the economic life of their communities. This course focuses on the needs of actors in the African Micro and Small agri-food sector and contributes to a thriving ecosystem of businesses that generate wealth and employment, promote food and nutrition security, and respond to climate change challenges.

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