Press Release-E.A Horticulture Conference May 24, 2023

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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture Convenes Regional Horticulture Stakeholders in Nairobi to Discuss Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Sector

On May 24, 2023, in Nairobi, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture (ILH) in collaboration with the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED), convened key stakeholders and experts in horticulture, nutrition, gender equity, youth engagement, agri-entrepreneurship, and other related fields, mainly from East Africa. Themed “Resilient Fruit and Vegetable Value Chains: Nourishing Our Lives, Empowering Local Communities and Cottage Industries’, the conference served as a unique platform for dialogue, knowledge and experience sharing among stakeholders in the region and beyond.

Horticulture is a major source of income and nutrition for many households in the East Africa region. In Kenyan, the sector is the third largest foreign exchange earner generating around 150 billion shillings annually and supports millions of livelihoods. However, the sector continues to grapple with constraints along the value chain compounded by uncoordinated markets and limited know-how by many small-scale farmers to produce high-quality crops.

Funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by ICED in collaboration with ILH, the new horticulture project in East Africa seeks to enhance horticultural production in the region by addressing challenges experienced across the value chain through research. This four-year initiative is designed to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers across East Africa.

Dr. David Sarfo Ameyaw, ICED’s President and CEO remarked “The horticulture sector makes significant contribution to the collective GDP of the region. But smallholder horticulture farmers still face bottlenecks around access to market and inability to meet the required quality for export,” “This initiative will seek to generate evidence and insights that will support formulation of evidence-based policies to strengthen the sector,”

While delivering keynote address on behalf of the Principal Secretary, State Department for Crop Development, Josephine Simiyu-Head of Regulations and Compliance at the Horticulture Crops Directorate-Agriculture and Food Authority, remarked: “The Conference theme aligns with the Kenya’s Agriculture Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS), 2019-2029, that highlights the Government’s initiatives to build households’ food resilience by increasing smallholder farmers’ incomes through supporting high agricultural productivity and value addition.,” “The Strategy recognizes that Kenya’s vibrant agribusiness sector has tremendous potential to be a powerful engine of transformation. The implementation as much as possible is to be done through the private sector.”

Dr. Peninah Yumbya, East Africa Horticulture Regional Hub manager remarked “Identification and prioritization of the challenges and opportunities in the Horticulture sector by key stakeholders and practitioners is critical for targeted interventions to achieve productive, efficient, sustainable, and inclusive growth of the horticulture sector in East Africa.

The project’s activities will involve local research institutions, county governments, private sectors, traders, and women’s groups. The goal of this collaborative project is to increase productivity, profitability, and consumption of horticultural produce in the rural areas.

“Fruits and vegetables play a crucial role in nourishing our communities. We are excited to collaborate with ICED and our global partners in addressing challenges and seizing opportunities in horticulture. Together, we strive to ensure that East African families have access to essential nutrients while ensuring farmers can generate successful livelihoods within horticultural production and marketing.” Said Erin McGuire, Associate Director, Feed the Future ILH.

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