'Future of Food in Kenya' - An orientation of foresight process for food system transformation in Kenya

Nairobi, June 2023 – Under the Foresight for Food Systems Transformation (FoSTr) Programme, Foresight4Food organized a highly engaging two-day workshop that brought together key stakeholders from across the Kenyan food system to tackle the country’s pressing issue of food security. The workshop titled ‘Future of Food in Kenya’ aimed to orientate, contextualize and coordinate with different stakeholders on the foresight process for Kenya’s food systems transformation, strengthen capacities on foresight and scenario processes, and establish concrete partnerships and policy alignment for the process moving forward in 2023 and 2024.

Jim Woodhill, Lead Foresight4Food Initiative, discussing the foresight process

The workshop commenced with valuable opening remarks and reflections from IFAD Country Director Mariatu Kamara, First Secretary of Food and Water Security at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Pim van der Male, and Mary Mawale Ministry of Agriculture Food Security Specialist endorsing the importance of foresight.

IFAD Country Director Mariatu Kamara

Moreover, quite interesting content was presented by FAO and World Resources Institute on various aspects of the food system including the urban food system, food loss and waste, and its link with the environment.

The workshop conducted through active group participation led to interesting outputs including a SWOT analysis of the transformation process, a rich and detailed picture of the Kenyan food system, and the drafting of three scenarios namely; ‘Rock-bottom’; ‘Big Win 2050’, and ‘the New Scramble’.

Wangeci Gitata-Kiriga, FoSTr country facilitator in Kenya, provided great support for Foresight4Food’s activities in Nairobi. Sharing her response about the workshop, Wangeci highlighted that in addition to addressing food systems challenges, the workshop aimed to contribute to Kenya’s national food systems pathways following the UN Food Systems Summit. She also felt very positive about initiating the food systems transformation in Kenya calling it the need of the hour.

Wangeci Gitata-Kiriga, FoSTr country facilitator in Kenya, addressing the workshop participants

Some of the key reflections from the participants included:

  • Foresight4food can help to bring together elements of climate change, environment, and food and address the effects of climate change on food systems.
  • There is a need to have better partnerships, public participation, and better value chain organization.
  • Uncertainty is critical, and so is the need to ensure an enabling environment that will secure long-term opportunity and investment.
  • A more interdisciplinary (and hopefully) transdisciplinary food systems approach is required.
  • Playing around with scenarios can paint a win-win picture. However, it is hard to really collaborate with different stakeholders on the pathways, hence the need to bring that urgency to decision-makers.

The Foresight4Food ‘Future of Food in Kenya’ workshop also received considerable coverage in major Kenyan newspapers including The StarThe Standard, and Daily Nation.