KENYA – The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) has launched the Vegetables for All (VfA) project to enhance dietary diversity and increase micronutrient intake among the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) consumers in Kenya.
The Swiss-based foundation launched the VfA project at the Nairobi Serena Hotel in the presence of the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya.
Representatives from the embassy of The Kingdom of the Netherlands in Kenya, UNICEF, USAID, IFAD, WFP, FAO, national government, county governments and other stakeholders were also in attendance.
The aim of the project is to promote the availability, accessibility, and affordability of vegetables among the vulnerable population for dietary and nutritional benefits, as well as community growth.
Speaking during the launch, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mithika Linturi said there is a need to shift in food choices to enhance the consumption of nutritious diets to improve the health and quality of life of many Kenyans.
He noted that Vegetables especially the traditional ones stand out for health benefits, have higher quantities of nutrients and the high protein and vitamin contents in these vegetables can eliminate deficiencies amongst vulnerable populations like children and pregnant women.
The project will run in the counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Machakos, Kiambu, and Machakos, with the aim of increasing the availability of fresh and safe vegetables in the domestic market.
According to the GAIN, the results will see more than 1 million Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) consumers access nutritious diets.
In a speech, the CS stated that Kenyans are not consuming sufficient vegetables according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Only 5.2% of adults aged 18-69 years in Kenya consume the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation of five servings (400 grams) of fruits and/or vegetables per day.
According to Ruth Okowa, GAIN Country Director, the project is meant to improve the consumption of vegetables by all populations in the five counties and to ensure that there is better nourishment.
She acknowledged that the production of vegetables in some areas of the country is low, while in others it is high. This presents different kinds of challenges, as areas with high production also experience high wastage and post-harvest losses.
“We are encouraging farmers and working with them, along with aggregators and other partners who have initiated projects targeting youth in agribusiness. The goal is to bring all the vegetables to one central location and fill the gap where there is a limited supply,” she concluded.
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