Blog Post

Launching KISM - the Knowledge Platform for Inclusive and Sustainable Food Markets and Value Chains

Launching KISM - the Knowledge Platform for Inclusive and Sustainable Food Markets and Value Chains

by Swati Malhotra


Food systems transformation is crucial for more inclusive, equitable and sustainable food markets and value chains. The food sector makes up one-fifth of the global economy. It’s the world’s largest source of employment (50% of the global workforce) and the livelihoods of most poor people depend on it. The food sector contributes to around 33% of total GHG emissions and is vulnerable to climate-induced supply disruptions that can affect global food security.  

Achieving food systems transformation requires evidence to understand situations and processes, take stock of what’s worked, and spur change through innovation. This role is recognized in SDG 17—to enhance global partnerships for sustainable development—which “helps us understand what the current status is, what has worked in the past, what different policy measures might lead to what kind of change … ,” said the Director of Programs at ISEAL, Kristin Komives at the KISM launch on March 7.

Currently, there is no dedicated knowledge platform focused on the inclusiveness and sustainability of food value chains. To fill the gap, Work Package 4 (focusing on knowledge sharing, improved metrics and food policy scenarios) under the CGIAR research initiative on Rethinking Food Markets 1, in partnership with the Evidensia 2 and ISEAL 2, established the Knowledge Platform for Inclusive and Sustainable Food Markets and Value Chains (KISM).

KISM is a research and knowledge gateway to help farmer organizations, food businesses, governments, and practitioners make better-informed investment and policy decisions on inclusive and sustainable food value chains. It shares research from the initiative, Food Security Portal, and the Living Income Community of Practice and CGIAR research program on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM) Value Chains, and engages stakeholder dialogues to make sense of the research and improve policy coherence and market reform.

KISM supports food systems transformation by being a:

  • One–stop–shop for all research outputs from the Rethinking Food Markets initiative
  • Gateway to help key user groups access and navigate all relevant evidence and data linked to food systems, markets, and value chains to support effective decision making
  • Means to foster dialogue and engagement with key stakeholders to share insight and support uptake of knowledge and evidence to inform practice.


Knowledge platforms improve accessibility of information of what already exists and for researchers to build on and complement existing knowledge. They create transparency about what we know, do not know, and signal what is effective and impactful. They promote learning through exchange between researchers, and through multi-stakeholder dialogue. Knowledge platforms also help bridge the gap between academic research and practice by helping stakeholders find recommendations and ideas, and ensure that research is built on the need and questions of practitioners.

KISM, while critical for the initiative outcomes, is also helpful to look beyond the initiative in sharing of existing and new evidence base on market and value chain innovations, expressed Rob Vos, Initiative Lead for Rethinking Food Markets and IFPRI Unit Director for Markets, Trade, and Institutions. The platform seeks to help stimulate dialogue and consultations with and among stakeholders about design and effectiveness of innovations and interventions promoting inclusive and sustainable value chains, assessing scalability, potential tradeoffs, and need for complementary interventions.

For Nigeria, creation of KISM is well-timed as this innovation will support the implementation of three policy components in the country: knowledge creation and transfer, market developments, and strengthening value chain development. “We see KISM as a complementary technology that aligns with Nigeria’s agricultural and innovation policy,” said Rethinking Food Markets stakeholder Abubakar Haruna from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development. Another initiative stakeholder, Muhammad Yakubu, CEO of Bunkasa 3, emphasized the relevance of KISM for the firm where they plan to leverage the KISM network to improve logistics and market coordination services for farmers since “collaboration is the key to success,” Yakubu said. With future challenges such as internet accessibility for smallholders on the Nigerian horizon, “more emphasis should be given to subnational governments in Nigeria to scale-up KISM,” Haruna added.

KISM, as a platform, is for pure interaction—knowledge sharing and stakeholder dialogue. The platform calls upon all stakeholders to engage in its discussion forum, participate in dialogues and submit evidence experienced in food value chains so all user groups learn from one another and be equipped to take better decisions for better agricultural policy outcomes.


Swati Malhotra is a Communications Specialist with IFPRI's Markets, Trade, and Institutions Unit and for CGIAR initiative on Rethinking Food Markets.


1 Launched in January 2022, the Rethinking Food Markets initiative is a collaborative effort of seven CGIAR centers, including the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (Alliance Bioversity-CIAT), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and WorldFish. The initiative is working with partners in Honduras, Guatemala, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, and Bangladesh, and collaborates with national and international partners to leverage innovations and policies that improve the functioning of food markets and value chains to address food insecurity and malnutrition, reduce poverty and income inequality, and minimize food systems’ ecological footprint.

2 ISEAL is the global membership organization for ambitious, collaborative, and transparent sustainability systems. Founded in 2019 by ISEAL, Rainforest Alliance and WWF with the support of the Global Environment Facility, Evidensia helps partners access and interpret credible research on the sustainability impacts and effectiveness of supply chain initiatives and tools. It provides a portal to information and evidence, and supports shared learning through its insights and analysis.

3 Bunkasa is an agritech consulting and post-harvest management solutions firm in partnership with Mile 12 International Market Lagos.