The Kisumu County Food Systems Strategy draft is on its final stages of completion in readiness for presentation to the cabinet for adoption.
Following the Public participation held last week at the Tom Mboya labour college, the public aired their views, ideas and information that are currently being incorporated into the fair draft in a bid to have a document that is responsive to the needs of the users.
It is in the light of this, that the technical experts drawn from County sector departments, Young Professionals for Agriculture department (YPARD-Kenya), KIRDI, KEMFRI, Diplomat Youth Group, Urban Traders Association, JOOUST, Maseno University and Local farmers under the Food Liaison Advisory Group (FLAG), have converged at East Mark Hotel in Nakuru as from 11th – 14th April, 2023, to prepare the fair draft, with support from development partners; Practical Action and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
According to Rebecca Wanjiru, a representative from FAO, the objective of the four days’ workshop is to review the input from public participation, develop final draft of the Kisumu County Food Systems Strategy and develop clear structure for FLAG and its sustainability aspects.
She further outlined the expected outcome of the workshop, which include a final draft of the food systems strategy, a clear FLAG structure and sharing the lessons learnt when working on the food systems.
While officially opening the workshop today, the CECM for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, Hon. Kenn Onyango noted that the input from the public participation would enrich the food systems draft.
He reiterated that the draft gives a holistic approach in handling food systems issues because it brings together different sectors and partners as opposed to previously when the focus was only on the value chain approach.
Hon. Onyango added that the sessions would also see a legal team develop Kisumu County Agriculture Facilities Improvement Fund Bill 2023.The bill once completed, is expected to regulate institutions such as Maseno Agricultural Training Centre, Kisumu Agricultural Mechanization Services Centre, Kisumu Dairy Development Corporation and the Vicinaqua project, making them autonomous.
He said the bill is necessary for the institutions to perform their core mandates from the revenue they give. He further explained that though the institutions collect revenue, the revenue goes to the County Revenue Fund, and it is challenging to plough it back to the said institutions. This has adversely affected their service delivery.
The CECM, thanked Practical Action and FAO for their support and called on the technical experts to have a meaningful engagement by thoroughly interrogating the document in order to improve the county food systems and to accomplish the envisaged goal.
On sustainability beyond partners support, Hon. Onyango challenged the experts that interventions proposed should have practical impact on agribusiness. He alluded that documents are generated but if they do not reflect the actual well-being of food security, then there is need to review the same.
“To what extent do our interventions bring practical and positive impact to our farmers?” asked the CECM
Professor George Mark Onyango from Maseno University in his remarks underscored the significance of public participation to the document. He acknowledged the ideas, issues and information given by the public as key towards having an important document that is live and responsive to the consumers.
He said, the sustainability plan is equally an important component to be looked into to ensure a food systems strategy that if put into use will give a positive output.
On sharing lessons learnt, he explained that such experiences would inform how to carry out other related activities in the future.
As members of the FLAG, Professor Onyango said the development of a clear structure and operationalizing it would enable it to be part of the implementation of the food system
On his part, the Co- Chairperson for FLAG, Mr. Nixon Samba, thanked the team for their unwavering commitment to tackle the issues of food and nutrition in the county.
Being cognizant to the fact that Kisumu County is the second in developing a food systems strategy after Nairobi County, Mr. Samba reiterated the clarion call from the public participation that emphasized on the need for its implementation.
He called on the experts to remain committed also on the process not only at the cabinet level for adoption, but also in rallying support from the County Assembly in terms of resource allocation for its implementation.