Kenya's School Food Revolution

BFN Project
Publié: 13 novembre 2017
Dernière modification: 02 octobre 2020
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Once perceived as “food for the poor”, African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs) and other forgotten crops are making a comeback in Busia County, Kenya, thanks to a pilot project supported by ACIAR and GEF and a participatory multi-sectoral platform that brings together farmer organizations, non-governmental organizations, and national and international government agencies. The project is helping revive interest in nutritious ALVs  by building the capacity of entrepreneurial farmer groups to sustainably produce, use and respond to market demands for these crops from institutional markets (e.g. school feeding and health clinics). At the same time, education activities are taking place to increase the appreciation and use of local biodiversity to improve dietary diversity and nutrition and environmental resilience but also to provide sustainable, long-term support and empowerment to children, families and communities.


Afrique de l'Est et du Sud
Ampleur de la mise en œuvre
Terres cultivées
Écosystème agricole
Acteurs locaux
Cadre juridique et politique
Connaissances traditionnelles
Moyens d'existence durables
Santé et bien-être humain
Services écosystèmiques
Sécurité alimentaire
Perte de biodiversité
Manque d'accès au financement à long terme
Manque de capacités techniques
Manque de sensibilisation du public et des décideurs
Manque de sécurité alimentaire
Chômage / pauvreté
Objectifs de développement durable
ODD 2 - Faim "zéro"
ODD 3 - Bonne santé et bien-être
ODD 4 - Éducation de qualité
ODD 5 - Égalité entre les sexes
ODD 8 - Travail décent er croissance économique
ODD 10 - Inégalités réduites
ODD 11 - Villes et communautés durables
ODD 12 - Consommation et production responsables
Objectifs d’Aichi
Objectif 1: Sensibilisation accrue de la biodiversité
Objectif 2: Valeurs de la biodiversité intégrées
Objectif 4: Production et consommation durables
Objectif 7: Agriculture, aquaculture et sylviculture durable
Objectif 10: Ecosystèmes vulnérables au changement climatique
Objectif 12: Réduction du risque d'extinction
Objectif 13: Sauvegarde de la diversité génétique
Objectif 18: Connaissances traditionnelles


Busia, Busia County, Kenya


Poverty rates in Busia range from 63% to 74%. Two out of three citizens are unable to meet their basic food needs and 26.6% children under five are stunted, 11% are underweight and 4% are thin due to malnutrition. Studies have shown that farmers in Busia are unaware of improved agricultural practices and technical solutions because extension staff are too few and lack transport and resources to reach the high number of small-scale farmers. Low government investments and support for farmers, lack of quality seed, limited access to markets and finance, as well as poor knowledge of value addition, post-harvest handling, food safety and hygiene practices  exacerbate these problems. Further, the focus of agricultural development on producing larger quantities of a few, energy-rich staples has led to the neglect of a large number of highly nutritious local species which are rapidly disappearing from the environment and from people’s diets.


Target beneficiaries are rural communities and smallholder farmers living in Busia who will benefit from increased household incomes and improved dietary diversity for all age groups with positive implications for economic growth and human wellbeing.

Comment les blocs constitutifs interagissent-ils entre eux dans la solution?

Existing information on the nutritional value of indigenous vegetables and new data generated by the project were used to raise awareness of the importance of incorporating these species within a varied and balanced diet both on the supply and the demand side of the value chain. On the supply-side of the food value chain, the model set out to build the capacity of smallholder farmers to respond to increasing market demand for nutritious crops by providing training on food production, business management and value addition through the Farmer Business School model. Simultaneously, on the demand-side, awareness raising activities such as the Busia Food Fair, helped build interest in local crops, which subsequently resulted in a select number of schools, clinics and early child development centres introducing them in their institutional meals' programs.


SINGI promotes sustainable agricultural practices to establish home gardens using African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs) and other traditional crops. ALVs are weedy, semi-cultivated species that are adapted to growing in local environments, are more resistant to pest and diseases and require very little management, fertilizers and pesticides. They also provide ready and affordable access to key nutrients. SINGI has worked with partners to develop and test a workable food procurement model based on ALVs to promote the conservation of local food biodiversity while improving farmer livelihoods and promoting healthier school meals. Since the approach was launched in one pilot school in mid-2016 catering for 400 students, 14 contracts have been secured and the farm-to-school network is now providing healthy school meals to approximately 5,500 pupils. Quantities supplied vary between 10Kg per week to six times that amount while the agreed cost per kilo varies between US$0.30 and US$0.50 depending on the season. The linking of farmer groups to schools and health clinics has created employment opportunities for the farmers who now have a steady market for their produce while schools see the relationship of linking to local farmers as part of their social and environmental corporate responsibility.



Upon the demise of her husband, Joyce Momanyi’s world had suddenly crumbled. A housewife and farmer from Nang’eni village in Nambale, Busia County, how would she make a living, send her children to school and use the five acre plot her husband had bequeathed her to feed her family? Like most people in her village she planted maize. The maize did well, but when she went to sell it in a nearby local market the market was flooded with grain from other smallholders, prices were low and her profits marginal. That was when she decided to try her luck in the production of African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs), a decision, she says, completely transformed her life.  Joyce slowly started to devote increasing portions of land to ALV production. What compelled her was the fact that, compared to maize, indigenous vegetables grow faster and require fewer inputs and water. In just 3-4 weeks the vegetables were ready for harvest and to her surprise buyers were already lining up at her farm gate. “My neighbours are still venturing into maize production because they do not know the advantages of ALV production. ALVs take only 3 weeks to 1 month to get ready for the market while maize takes even 5 months to mature”. The more she expanded her ALV farm the more her clients increased. To lift others out of poverty she formed the Great Sisters Women Group - a group of young widows and elderly mothers - who attended the farmer business school run by the project. During the market training, she approached Esibembe secondary school and was able to secure a contract for her group. To cut seed purchases, Joyce also ventured into seed production. She says she will sell extra seeds to her group members. “How could an ordinary farmer like me have known that it is possible to make a school your market? I am so grateful”. Joyce has also managed to pay her children’s school fees. Through ALV production she has improved her household's economy and is certain that her husband is looking down proudly at her from above.

Contribué par

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William Buluma Sustainable Income Generating Investment(SINGI)

Autres contributeurs

Sustainable Income Generating Investment Group
Bioversity International