Food Systems Decision Support Toolbox


Developed by KIT Royal Tropical Institute and Wageningen Economic Research, with funding from the Netherlands Food Partnership, this tool generates practical recommendations for food and nutrition security policy and programming.

It is the product of a series of assignments commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality to support their food and nutrition security programming in low- and middle-income countries.

A systems approach to food & nutrition security

There is growing recognition that a systemic approach is needed to effectively shape food and nutrition security (FNS) programming – one which takes into account the complexities of how food is produced, traded and consumed in a given context. This is reflected in the Ministry’s growing desire to incorporate a food systems approach into their FNS programming.

The Food Systems Decision Support Toolbox applies a food systems lens for country-based FNS policy planning, for example by Netherlands Embassies. It takes decision-makers, such as policymakers and investors, through an analytical process to understand the bigger picture and complexity of a food system. By enabling them to see the key constraints and bottlenecks, it facilitates the decision-making process of how to intervene, where to invest resources, what policies to develop, or which partnerships to use to trigger transformative change with the limited resources available.

KIT and WUR subsequently applied the tool to better understand food systems in Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria with the aim of supporting Dutch FNS programming in those countries. For example, in Nigeria, the tool produced several concrete recommendations to increase access to healthy food, namely through investment in vegetable, fish, milk and poultry value chains.