AgriFoSe2030, University of Nairobi and Mazingira Institute in collaboration with County department of Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries organized a two day workshop at Ikonia Hotel, Kisumu to deliberate on the development and implementation of urban agriculture (UA) policies in Nairobi, Kisumu, Thika and Nakuru.
The workshop focused on creating a framework for dialogue and discussions on the development of urban agriculture policies in the said towns and cities using the food systems approach.
The initiative is targeted to bring together stakeholders who include urban farmers, County agricultural and livestock officers, city planners, public health officers, trade organizations, traders, producers, researchers, NGO’s and service providers. This will create a forum to discuss issues on urban agriculture that will give insights to policy formulation.
According to scientific research findings, UA is a component of the urban food systems and that 20% of the urban population in Kisumu are engaged in urban agriculture. Generally, households engaged in urban agriculture have higher income which contributes about 36% to household income and the link between UA especially urban livestock production and food and nutrition security.
However urban farmers experience challenges emanating from lack of support from County Governments, substandard agricultural inputs such as seeds , livestock feed, health risks from both biological and chemical toxic sources
The CEC Member for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Gilchrist Okuom in his address applauded the academicians and the stakeholders for taking up the initiative and that he was optimistic that the collaboration will help solve the challenges bedeviling the people of Kisumu.
He reiterated that due to fast rate of expansion in the City, rural practices are finding way into the urban centers, therefore there is need for a link transition of urban and rural dwellers and that the deliberations of the workshop will fill such gaps.
The Minister affirmed County’s commitment and political goodwill to the deliberations, thanking the partners for selecting Kisumu City for the programme since it will enable the people do things differently for better practices.
The Ag Chief Officer for agriculture Mr. Alfred Ajulu on his part was elated that Kisumu joined the selected towns and cities in creating a framework for dialogue that will inform the creation of a policy on urban agriculture and food systems set to address the challenges in agriculture like the issue of chemicals used.
He added that the expertise of a physical planner is key in addressing the issue of spatial planning in urban agriculture and that such regulations should be shared with the stakeholders. He also stated that the department is working on an urban food strategy.
The workshop being an agenda setting forum, there were presenters with rich academic insights on inputs on policy and research. They included: Dr. Diana Lee Smith of Mazingira Institute, Professor Willis Oluoch Kosura of Nairobi University, Davinda Lamba of Mazingira Institute, Professor Samuel Owuor of Nairobi University, Dr. Cecilia Onyango of Nairobi University, Dr. Samuel Onyango Omondi of Nairobi University and Mr. Isaac Dawo from County department of agriculture