The Food and Agriculture Organization Representative to Kenya, Madam Carla Mucavi yesterday toured the county to follow up on the implementation of Urban Food Systems project activities;response to Covid-19 and Flood Challenges within Kisumu County.
She was accompanied by the FAO- Kenya Inclusive Value Chain Sub program lead, Mr. Tito Arunga, FAO- Kenya Land governance program manager/ Gender focal point, Madam Husna Abdalla among other officers.
Playing host to the FAO delegation, the Chief Officer for Agriculture Dr. Paul Omanga together with the County liaison officer, Mr. Eric Ogadho, the FLAG Coordinator, Madam Rose Owenga and the M&E Officer, Mr. Brian Bodo accompanied the guests to different sites earmarked as field-based schools where farmers learn modern agriculture technologies along the local vegetables, fish and poultry value chains.
The different sites sampled for visitation included: Huduma Center demo site, United destiny Shapers CBO, Victoria youth group and the Chicken Basket entrepreneur.
Huduma Center Micro garden demo site which showcase different technologies in production of African leafy vegetables within a limited space or piece of land especially within the urban set up, is used to capacity build farmers in the urban centers on matters food and nutrition security and as a source of income.
The United Destiny Shapers, a CBO in Nyalenda informal settlement dealing in local vegetables, and vermiculture was also a site of interest as their aim is to transform Kisumu from a net importer of local vegetables to a net producer. The group is a mix of youths, women and the elderly.
They are currently producing 5-10 tons of assorted African leafy vegetables on a daily basis using the modern agriculture technologies and organic manure.
FAO in collaboration with the County trained the members making it a field-based school where farmers learn modern farming technologies and then cascade the practice to the community.
Through FAO grants, the CBO will be supported to acquire irrigation equipment to enhance their production to meet the market demand.
Victoria Youth group was also significant to the tour, as they deal in aquaculture, specifically, fingerling production and setting up of earthen and raised ponds. The group is linked to the Vicin Aqua project in Nyalenda ponds near Kasagam. They recycle waste water for fingerling production.
The group has been trained by FAO and they are being involved in organizing farmers field day schools where people learn best practices in aquaculture production.
In addition, the group also produce black soldier flies, which is affordable source of protein foods for fish and chicken. This reduces the high cost of feeds to the local farmers.
Through food systems grant, FAO has earmarked the youth group for support in developing an online marketing infrastructure to market their products and services to a wider based clientele.
FAO has also supported the creation of a market linkage with the Chicken basket to provide ready market for poultry farmers within the county. They provide training to the farmers on best practices in poultry production and opportunities for input access based on chicken supplies.
Madam Carla Mucavi said she was impressed with the ongoing activities on the urban food systems project within the county.
She affirmed their unwavering support in scaling up the production, noting that it was quite inspiring to bring on board youths with innovative ideas that impact positively into lives and livelihoods of the community.
She also thanked the County for their support and cordial working relations accorded to them.
On his part, Dr Paul Omanga thanked FAO team for their continued support that has had a great impact in the lives of the people of Kisumu especially during the wake of Covid 19, the cancer and the HIV/AIDS patients.
He further highlighted that their support in the promotion of African leafy vegetables through demos has cascaded to the villages, hence boosting food security and income to the people.
Dr. Omanga also lauded FAO for sponsoring the department’s participation in the up coming devolution Conference, saying it will provide a platform to showcase the modern agriculture technologies that can be adopted by the people to boost food security not only within the county but also the country as a whole.
He however urged them to consider initiating the E- voucher system that can assist farmers in accessing farm in puts.
By: Emily Mikwa