RWANDA – The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched its latest project titled ‘Supporting Innovative Urban Agriculture for Enhanced Food Security and Nutrition,’ in Kigali to foster urban food security.

This project, which is part of the FAO Green Cities initiative, aims to promote food security in urban areas by engaging with approximately 100 schools across the country.

The project’s inception workshop convened a diverse group of stakeholders, including Kigali’s Vice Mayor Martine Urujeni and the FAO Representative in Rwanda, Coumba Sow.

Their goal is to establish the foundation for an educational platform where both students and teachers can learn about sustainable agriculture and nutrition.

“Cultivating fresh produce within urban areas can provide access to affordable and nutritious food, especially for communities and schools that lack such resources,” stated Coumba Sow during her workshop address.

According to Martine Urujeni, Vice Mayor of the City of Kigali in charge of Socio-Economic Affairs, the initiative by FAO aligns with the city’s vision for a green, clean, and resilient urban environment.

Urujeni welcomed the project’s three core components: capacity building and awareness-raising in urban farming, waste management, and fruit tree planting; the demonstration of vertical farming and waste management in selected schools; and the improvement of institutional capacity for food waste management.

Meanwhile, FAO recently hosted another event with the theme “Our Seat at the Table: Maximizing Transformative Opportunities across the Rural-Urban Continuum to Deliver Healthy Diets from Sustainable Agrifood Systems” during the 51st Committee on World Food Security.

According to FAO, urbanization is a significant factor that shapes global food systems and influences the quality of diets.

The impact of this highlights the necessity for the smooth integration of formal and informal sustainable and nutrition-sensitive value chains throughout the rural-urban continuum.

“This presents many opportunities and policy entry points for urban and local governments, as well as other local stakeholders, including other levels of government, wider civil society, and multiple sectors,” outlined the organization.

In their view, strengthening local food systems offers the potential to create co-benefits for both communities and the environment.

They recommend leveraging the food system connectivity between small, medium, and large cities, as well as rural towns and landscapes. Local-level interventions have the capacity to help address the alarming disparities in society.

“The sustainability of these efforts depends on people-centered, multisectoral approaches driven by robust, inclusive food systems governance and targeted investments at the local, regional, and national levels,” outlines the FAO.

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