The County Government of Kisumu in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) organized a two-day workshop as from the 29th to 30th September 2022 to validate the food assessment report and define a road map for the development of the Kisumu Food Strategy, under the Urban Food Systems Project.
The workshop held at the Acacia Premier Hotel, brought on board a multi sectoral disciplines from the County government, Institutions, Private sector and development partners who deliberated on the findings of the assessment report that would inform the development of the Kisumu County Food Strategy.
While officially opening the workshop, the County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Gilchrist Okuom commended FAO for the journey traveled which culminated into the validation of the food assessment report.
He reiterated that the County envisaged having the report earlier for roll out before the beginning of a new term. However, he was optimistic that the process would come to a conclusion since it would inform on policy framework going forward.
Mr. Okuom said the report is timely in that as the county approaches the food systems in the city, hinterland and surrounding towns, it will form policies that will guide the growth of emerging towns such as Ahero, Katito, Maseno Muhoroni and Kombewa.
The CEC said he was confident that the deliberations of the workshop would have a far-reaching effect on how the county will operate in the next five years and beyond. Adding that the recommendations be embedded in the CIDP.
The Chief Officer Agriculture and Irrigation, Dr. Paul Omanga elucidated how the world over is increasingly becoming urbanized, including Kisumu County that recently launched five towns.
Referring to reports by FAO and World Bank, the chief Officer stated that by the year 2050, 60% of the world population would be in the Cities therefore there is need to manage the food systems that will cater for the needs of urban growth.
Dr, Omanga applauded FAO for their contribution towards the assessment of food situation in Kisumu City saying the data will be critical in the development of a good food strategy, which can be entrenched in the CIDP for budget allocation. He further alluded that food systems forms the largest waste in Cities hence there is need to look into aspects of waste management strategies.
The Representative from FAO, Rebbecah Wanjiru said the workshop aims to validate the assessment report, which is part of a wider project namely the Urban Food Systems Project that has different components but complement each other.
She recalled that Covid 19 affected the work that began in 2019 in the year 2020, which slowed the progress.
Rebeccah said the overall goal is for stakeholders to interrogate the study and come up with ideas on how to build on issues around it and then develop a strategy / policy document that will address the existing issues, backed with implementation plan and resource mobilization plan embedded in the CIDP.
Taking cognizance on Africities focusing on intermediary Cities that are springing up so fast, she cautioned that if such Cities are not vigilant, they are likely to plunge into the challenges that major cities face such as: poor planning, food and nutrition insecurity, unemployment among others.
She noted that Kisumu also has towns around it, hence warned that as urbanization is taking place, there is need for a food system that feed the people, protect the environment, and ensure the population is sustainable socially, economically and environmentally.
According to the Chairperson Food Liaison Advisory Group, (FLAG), Mr. Nixon Samba, commended the consultants for the hard work in producing the assessment report. He expressed confidence that the outcome of the workshop deliberations will find its way to the CIDP whereby for the next five years the agenda will be on food systems.
He noted that the attendance comprised a number of professionals, who will play a critical role, as the CIDP will be rolled out. He emphasized that the issue of food systems be captured right from the ward level, to the sub county and finally to the county in order to form the food systems agenda as directed by the residents of Kisumu County.
The Rational and Implementation of RUFSAT
The Agribusiness Economist from FAO, Mr. Ny You gave highlights on Rapid Urban Food Systems Appraisal Tool (RUFSAT) is and its importance in carrying out the food systems assessment report.
He said further explained that RUFSAT information he said will inform the food strategy in terms of different aspects of sustainability such as economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and resilience.
According to his presentation, a combination of value chain analysis reach consumers plus GIS mapping he said should offer a holistic use of the food system.
Three components of value chains will help establish some root cause of problems in the identified value chains in the study.
The Consumer survey he said will provide an overview of socio- economic information of households, understanding the food consumed access to food, the amount they spend on a given quantity. The GIS map will also offer information on different important points on food system like water sources, transport infrastructure, markets and products flowing into the city.
He also gave insights on how RUFSAT has been used as a tool in global and regional perspectives on food systems assessments and how it fits in FAO framework of urban food agenda.
Study Approach- RUFSAT
Professor George Onyango, one of the consultants presented on the approaches used to undertake the study. He outlined the objectives of the study, which included identifying: linkages and flow within the city, descriptions of food systems and trends, enabling environment and root cause of performance or under performance of the food system. He further explained the four phases that the study went through.
Consumer Survey Presentation
The consumer survey presentation by Dr. Nelson Obange brought out the current situation in Kisumu in relation to food security context, food safety, food waste management strategies by 410 households.
Other key issues looked into also included the dietary preferences, food sources, purchasing patterns, access to safe water, cooking fuel, consumer sustainability of food systems in relation to Body Mass Index (BMI)
The study established that food security issues were determined by levels of worries of running out of food due to lack of money.
On food safety it was established that 53.7% had received information on food safety however the level of information was low.
Value Chain Analysis Presentation
Dr. Abel Otieno’s presentations on the identified value chain including indigenous chicken, African Leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and milk established that about 98% of the vegetables consumed are grown within Kisumu including the indigenous chicken. He however pointed out that the tomato variety grown within is not of preference by the market.
Concerning milk, it the study established that most milk consumed in Kisumu comes from the neighboring counties since Kisumu does not produce enough for the market. The importation of milk also has its negative effects making the people to bear the brunt of adulterated milk due to poor preservation methods to prolong the shelf life of fresh milk by the retailers.
Dr. Abel also outlined the various employment opportunities within the various value chain nodes and the challenges faced especially during marketing due to the interest of the middlemen.
Day two of the workshop saw the participants go through the challenges emanating from the study. In small discussion groups they were tasked to come up with five key issues that the strategy will address giving reasons why it is necessary to prioritize them.
By: Emily Mikwa