The county government of Kisumu is working on a food strategy that will inform better production as well as consumption.
The strategy will ensure efficiency in the food sector, turning around the county to be a food producer and reduce dependency on other counties in terms of food production.
Kisumu City is considered a consumer city due to its heavy reliance on other regions to meet its food needs. From fish, vegetables and bananas to eggs, chicken and fruits, Kisumu relies on neighbouring counties and Countries for virtually all the food that is consumed in the
The policy will be informed by outcomes of three studies done covering Kisumu county on Food consumption, value chain analysis and Spatial analysis. The studies were done by experts from Maseno university and other stake holders.
“Kisumu has an important place in informing future planning for counties as well as country as it develops proper food systems.” Mr Tito Arunga FAO’s head of inclusive Value chains sub programme said during a workshop that received presentation of the research carried out to inform the food policy.
He said before the policy is crafted, considering rapid changing dynamics a special analysis of the county has been carried out and data availed as well consumption demo graphs are being considered.
“We need a strong foundation to work on strategy for food systems, we are ensuring that all stake holders are engaged.” Mr Arunga added.
The County executive member for Agriculture, irrigation, livestock and fisheries, Mr Gilchrist Okuom also called for consultative engagement and a more interactive approach toward the policy formation to enrich the process.
The studies showed that currently Kisumu city is unable to sufficiently produce its own food, the food deficit in the county is supplied from other neighboring counties.
The study presented by Dr Nelson Obange of Maseno University, department of economics further shows that significant food consumed within the city is sourced from outside counties such as Trans-Nzoia, Uasin-Gishu, Narok, and Bomet counties in the former Rift Valley province as well as Busia (Kenya) and Busia (Uganda). Some maize, fish and eggs are imported from Uganda, and some fish is imported from China.
The study also indicates that food-processing industries have not grown in Kisumu to the same extent as they have in other cities in Kenya. There are sugar-milling companies in the satellite towns of Kibos, Chemelil and Muhoroni, and Kisumu has two maize-milling plants and one fish-processing plant. Other food-processing enterprises are involved in small-scale food preservation and packaging targeting the local market.
According to Household Food Insecurity Access Prevalence in 2018,71.3% of households in Kisumu county were either moderately food insecure (26.3%) or severely food insecure (45%), implying a high prevalence of food insecurity in Kisumu. Measured in terms of the Months of Adequate Household Food Provisioning indicator, 27% of the households consider their monthly food access to be constrained.
The study presented to Food Liaison Advisory Group (FLAG) which was instituted following a partnership between Kisumu county and Food and Agriculture Organization of the united Nations (FAO), also indicates that Kisumu County experiences low levels of dietary diversity coupled with the high levels of food insecurity. Levels of food insecurity, or food poverty, in Kisumu are generally high, with particularly high rates being measured in the poorer settlement areas.
The FLAG has a mandate to promote urban agriculture as a food security response, since about 85.5% of households do not grow any of their food in the city, this implies insignificant utilization of urban agriculture as a source of food to the urban population.
The Flag is also working to see to it that the Kisumu Urban food system is enhanced, already Kisumu City is considered a consumer county due to its heavy reliance on other regions to meet its food needs. From fish, vegetables and bananas to eggs, chicken and fruits, Kisumu relies on neighbouring counties and Countries for virtually all the food that is consumed in the city.
The FLAG works to ensure that Kisumu Urban food systems are improved in an effort to ensure food security in Kisumu county, already a total of l of 25 field extension agents were trained as trainer of trainees. The training consisted of practical’s, field excursions and classwork areas covered includes urban crop technologies, Poultry production and health management, aquaculture, food and nutrition, value addition, food quality and safety, food waste management and business development and marketing and entrepreneurship.
The training has been done in preparation for grant disbursement to beneficiaries that will be identified to receive financial support to alleviate the negative impact of covid 19 among food producers in Kisumu county.
Already a process of identification of potential beneficiaries for poultry and micro gardens is going and a criteria developed to select beneficiaries of the grant.
Training for poultry farmers in Kisumu West sub county has been undertaken, a total of 44 participants trained. Areas covered included, Housing, Feeding & nutrition and Poultry diseases and health management.