County department of Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries in collaboration with Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations (FAO) held a stakeholder forum, in a bid to integrate actions for innovative food systems actions across rural urban community projects.
The workshop held at Acacia Hotel on Tuesday this week, brought on board different stakeholders from the line of agriculture, KCB, individual farmers and farming groups such as Seke, Osiepe Practical group, Mazingira institute, Bondo University among others.
The objectives of the forum was to bring together the stakeholders and create synergy, know the activities they are engaged in, stakeholders commitment, establishing a policy orientation for Kisumu County on food systems, the potential of establishing multi- stakeholder platform and the challenges faced by the stakeholders.
Speaking during the official opening of the forum CEC Member for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Gilchrist Okuom reiterated that the deliberations of the forum were key in changing the County’s Narrative from being net importers to producers.
“A net importer may not determine the quality and safety of the food produced”. Borrowing from the South African word Ubuntu translated as I am because you are, “such dependability will help us put food on our tables and manage the wastes that come from it,” said the Minister.
He further outlined some of the available opportunities that producers can exploit such as good infrastructure like roads, the International airport, Kisumu being the LREB Secretariat, and the revival of the port that connects Kisumu to both local and international markets.
The County Minister however, pointed out the plight of the unemployed youths as one of the challenges that going forward through such programs, the County will be able to tap into their potentials. He also affirmed his unwavering support by drafting a strategy paper that will guide resource allocation for agricultural projects.
On his part, Dr. Barack Okoba from FAO emphasized that resilience in community food production is key, that is knowing the food produced , its quality and safety standards is paramount. He further stated that early warning systems, access to certified seeds, capacity building farmers from production to post production and support for regulations on food safety standards are vital in building resilience.
There were presenters from line ministries on integrated urban food systems who included: Ag. Chief Officer for agriculture, Mr. Alfred Ajulu, Monica Oyanga, Rebecca Wanjiru and the moderator Mr. Erick Ogadho.