Transform Kenya Forum on food security, safety and innovation in times of COVID-19

04/06/2020
Webinar

The Standard Group through the Transform Kenya platform will hold a virtual panel discussion to address the impact of COVID 19 on the agriculture sector, specifically:

  • The disruption of supply chains on access to food in Kenya
  • Food and nutrition sufficiency
  • The role of digital technologies in agriculture during the pandemic
  • The effects of border closures on food supply in Tanzania and Kenya
  • The distribution of food to urban and rural population


DATE

June 04, 2020
07:30 pm – 09:00 pm (EAT)


CONTACT

Vivian Atakos 
v.atakos@cgiar.org

The International Potato Center (CIP) will join other players working to address food and nutrition security in Kenya to discuss how our work can build resilience along the food value chains and improve livelihoods. The panelists will examine the possible effects of the COVID-19 crisis in Kenya and look at ways forward, building back better through the transformation of food systems. CIP will highlight the specific contribution of root and tuber crops to:

  • Enhance dietary quality in resource-poor countries where roots and tubers make important contributions to agri-food systems.
  • Improve productivity and farm incomes through inclusive value chain development in rural and urban areas.
  • Facilitate climate change adaption through the sustainable intensification and diversification of agri-food systems.

In the context of COVID-19 in Kenya, CIP will highlight the contribution of potato and sweetpotato to food and nutrition sufficiency. We will highlight CIP and partner work that has led to the release and adoption of varieties with locally important traits. For instance, for sweetpotato, these traits include virus and drought resistance; vine survival, high dry matter, low sugar, salinity tolerance, weevil resistance or avoidance, early maturity, and increased vitamin A and iron-rich content.

Work to date has enhanced nutritional outcomes and, in responding to consumer demand, has generated income opportunities by linking small-scale growers to commercial processors, such as bakeries. These interventions have facilitated the development of inclusive value chains: from community‐based agriculture to higher value urban markets for bakery products and nutritious snacks.

In responding to increased demand for nutritious foods in Kenya, processing companies have began including sweetpotato puree in baked wheat-based products, generating new markets for farmers. This has allowed producers to switch imported wheat for locally produced sweetpotato, leading to saving in foreign reserve requirements and lowing production costs.

With curfews and lockdowns caused by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, value chain disruption caused has hindered access by farmers to clean seed, especially for vegetatively propagated crops, such as the bulky and perishable sweetpotato vines. As part of the UKAID-funded Developing and disseminating biofortified crops, CIP and county governments in Kenya have teamed up with the United Nations Wood Food Programme to leverage their capacities and networks in increasing farmer access to disease-free vines.

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