April 2, 2024

Transforming Kenya’s Food Systems

Juliet Hinga

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Between 27th and 28th March 2024, we held an inception workshop marking the commencement of phase two of  The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Agriculture and Food (TEEB Agri Food Project). This workshop brought together public sector players from both national and county governments, community leaders from various communities and the private sector. Also present, were the pivotal partners involved in the project’s implementation were present, including Strathmore University Business School (SBS) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), alongside representation from the project’s funder, the IKEA Foundation.

Giving his opening remarks, Professor Izael De Silva, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Strathmore University, emphasized the university’s commitment to prioritizing the welfare of both humanity and the environment. This is in line with the university theme of the year: Sustainability: Caring for People and Planet. He further highlighted some of the various projects that the university is undertaking in renewable energy through the Strathmore Energy and Research Center (SERC). Moreover, Prof. De Silva showcased the University’s rich research portfolio, which he said has been steadily built over the past almost two decades.

The TEEB AgriFood Project aims to lay the groundwork for an ambitious study entitled “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Agriculture and Food,” herein referred to as “TEEBAgriFood.” This pioneering study aims to catalyze a profound transformation within Kenya’s food systems by advocating for pro-nature policies that not only ensure sustainable livelihoods but also foster enhanced community cohesion. Moreover, the project endeavors to actively engage stakeholders throughout its lifecycle, with the intention of seamlessly integrating its findings into mainstream practices, thus maximizing impact and sustainability.

The workshop served as a platform for disseminating essential background information to stakeholders while collectively shaping the project’s scope. Its primary objective was to convene representatives from a multitude of sectors, encompassing national and regional government bodies, the vibrant business and finance community, diverse civil society groups, influential rural community leaders, academic institutions, and other pertinent initiatives, including those backed by the IKEA Foundation. Furthermore, the workshop aimed to facilitate in-depth deliberations with the ultimate goal of achieving consensus on a concise and actionable short-list of TEEB Agri Food policies, poised to drive tangible change within Kenya’s agricultural landscape.

Article by Juliet Hinga

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