Outcome 1 – Food systems governance through multisectoral platforms

Article 43 of the Constitution of Kenya gives every person the right to the highest attainable standard of health, freedom from hunger, and access to adequate food of acceptable quality. The mission of Kenya’s Nutrition Action Plan (KNAP, 2018-2022) is ‘To reduce all forms of malnutrition in Kenya, using well-coordinated multisectoral and community centered approaches for optimal health for all Kenyans and the country’s economic growth’. The Action Plan is centered on nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions and devoted to the county-level where county specific County Nutrition Action Plans (CNAP) are in place. Unfortunately, Bungoma has never finalised its 2018-2022 CNAP, but assistance with facilitation of this process by NICE is foreseen in the next development cycle starting in NICE project year 2.

Multisectoral, multi-stakeholder food systems platforms that combine a diverse range of expertise from the agricultural, food, education and health sectors, as well as from private sector, civil society and academia, are seen as game changers and key instruments for promoting food systems transformation and innovation across food value chains.

Several platforms dealing with food system issues exist in Bungoma. Their potential and challenges have been discussed with stakeholders from county government and sub-county offices, youth groups, women groups, private companies and farmers’ hubs leaders in the frame of a food systems capacity building workshops organized by the NICE project on 22 June 2022.

After thorough internal discussions and assessment, the formation of a new food systems sub-committee following the Rwandan model under the umbrella of the multi-sectoral County Agricultural Sector Steering Committee (CASSCOM) has been decided as the way to go in Kenya in order to combine stakeholders from all the existing platforms. Due to national elections in Kenya on 09Aug2022, establishment for the food systems sub-committee has been postponed to project year 2 only.

Outcome 2 – Increased agroecological production

In November 2021, a group of 12 experts was convened in Bungoma to select the key value chains for the NICE project in a participatory, multi-stakeholder approach. Different value chains were rated as per the general value chain selection criteria of the project with scoring each value chain on a 3-point scale (1-3) and excluding commodities with a low total score from further consideration. Agreement was achieved on further supporting the following 3 value chains through the NICE project:

  • Poultry
  • Groundnuts
  • African leafy vegetables (spider plant, black nightshade)

32 NICE farmers’ hubs owners have so far been identified to implement the farmers’ hubs model in Bungoma county and have been trained according to Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture’s quality assured training and mentorship curriculum. Training included sessions on business plan development and implementation, financial management, sales and marketing, as well as crop and livestock production, post-harvest management and quality control.

Furthermore, besides already establishing farmers’ hubs, a farmers’ survey to understand the current status and potential for agroecological practices in Bungoma using an adapted version of FAO’s Self-evaluation and Holistic Assessment of climate Resilience of farmers and Pastoralists tool (SHARP) with 150 farmers was conducted in March 2022.

Outcome 3 – Demand generation

To foster demand and knowledge for nutritious and locally, agroecologically produced food contributing to a balanced diet, 87 Community Health Volunteers in Bungoma have been trained on agri-nutrition in June 2022. Furthermore, NICE also supported the Ministry of Health and Education’s Malezi Bora Week carrying out vitamin A supplementation for children <5 years in Bungoma in June 2022.

Besides concrete initiatives contributing to improved food literacy, also a formative research to inform a specific social behavior change campaign increasing the demand for nutritious and locally, agroecologically produced food has been conducted in Bungoma in September/October 2022 with respective campaign expected in Q2 2023.

Outcome 4 – Learning and scale up

So far, knowledge sharing and learning activities in Bungoma were largely focused on exchanging experiences and forging synergies with the other NICE cities in Kenya, Bangladesh, and Rwanda on the project management level.

On a political level NICE attended several county as well as national meetings such as a recent session of Kenya’s UN Food Systems Summit dialogue and two meetings with the council of governance and strengthened contact with FAO running the Green Cities Action Program in Nairobi and Kisumu.

Baseline Situation

At baseline, a team of experienced enumerators visited 150 households in Bungoma to collect information on the nutritional status, socio-economic information and consumption behavior of the city population. This survey revealed food insecurity in nearly all (88.7%) of the visited households in Bungoma, which increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 12.6% of the children under 5 years were too short for their age and therefore stunted, and 8.2% were underweight. Furthermore, 50.6% of women and 16.7% of men were overweight. Around half of the women did not report an adequately diverse diet (47.3% consumed less than 5 food groups in the previous 24 hours). All this indicates the kind of obstacles faced by the urban population of Bungoma to access a diverse and nutritious diet, with likely negative effects on their longer-term health. On the other hand, many of the urban and peri-urban households owned farmland, overall 63%. This provides an opportunity for NICE activities to assist in an increase and diversification of locally and agroecologically produced nutritious foods and in making them more accessible for the city population, including vulnerable city population groups. Baseline data were collected in May 2021.

The County of Bungoma partners with the NICE consortium for this project.