By Lorraine Anyango.
A learning session between Kisumu, Bungoma, and Busia counties has proposed the formation of a Food Liaison Advisory Group (FLAG) in each of the counties under the LREB umbrella.
Currently, it’s only Kisumu and Nairobi counties that have FLAG bodies instituted and functioning in Kenya.
In both counties, FLAG was established with the support of the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO).FLAG is a multi-stakeholder platform that incorporates the diverse interests and needs of food system stakeholders in Kisumu.
FLAG was initiated with a view of being self-sustained participatory food governance and establishing planning mechanisms to support the development of sustainable food systems in the counties.
Bungoma and Busia counties are in the process of implementing a project dubbed Nutrition in City Ecosystems (NICE), which is a collaboration by a Swiss consortium comprising of Swiss Tropical Public Institute, ETH Zurich, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and Sight and Life Foundation.
This is a project that seeks to improve nutrition and well-being and to reduce poverty in city populations with particular emphasis on women and youth.
The project has four goals including Food Systems Governance which looks into enhanced involvement of women and youth in urban governance structures around food and nutrition.
It also will look into the Production and availability of diverse, safe, and nutritious agro-ecologically produced food for city populations.
The third objective is enhanced knowledge and demand creation for the consumption of nutritious and agroecologically produced food. The fourth is learning and incorporating both horizontal and vertical exchange of knowledge.
Under the outcome of food systems governance, the project is in process of setting up food systems platforms.
The two counties come to benchmark with FLAG to learn from their experience and to find the points of synergy that would help set up Food Systems Platforms in the aforementioned counties.
During the engagement, Chair Flag Kisumu, Mr. Nixon Samba said that since inception the FLAG has been able to be part of the development of the Kisumu County Food Systems Strategy 2023-2027.
It has also participated in the development of the Kisumu County Agri-Nutrition Implementation Strategy 2023-2027 by USAID and Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) CSA and SUN-Business Networks in Kisumu County.
The Academia, specifically Maseno University is also a part of the FLAG, it carried out a study on rapid Urban Food System Appraisal.
It has been part of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, Food Systems e-course by the University of Wageningen, Netherlands. It has been part of the Governance of Food Systems for Improved Food and Nutrition Security by the AgriFoSe2030, University of Nairobi, Mazingira Institute, and the County Government of Kisumu.
FLAG has largely participated in the Green Cities Initiative through Practical Action and
Network on Food Governance in Small and Intermediary Cities and the City to City Exchanges on Food Systems Governance among African Cities by Rikolto. (Kisumu, Mwanza, Kigali).
The Kisumu’s food strategy was developed with a vision of realizing an innovative and
The sustainable food system in Kisumu County and its mission is to support a sustainable food
The system through integrated actions in a favorable policy environment. Its goal is to promote an efficient food system and equitable access to healthy food while promoting environmental and
Economic benefits in Kisumu County.
The thematic areas for the strategy include Legal and Institutional Framework Production, Post-harvest handling and value addition Infrastructure Development market access and ICT Nutrition, food safety and health, and mainstreaming cross-cutting issues.
The FLAG is charged with the responsibility of providing strategic leadership in coordination, planning, and resource mobilization for Agri-Food and Nutrition, strengthening inter-sectorial collaboration and coordination for synergy, and leading advocacy efforts for increased resource allocation for AgriFood and Nutrition.
Other functions include Mobilizing Support for AgriFood and Nutrition at the County Assembly and at the County Executive for providing of e technical oversight on the design and implementation of AgriFood and Nutrition policies and receiving recommendations from the TWG and regular progress updates on the performance of AgriFood and Nutrition outcomes.