Stakeholders from different sectors convened to discuss and assess the progress made in the realm of health and nutrition over the past decade in Kenya.

Head of Policy and Advocacy at GAIN Kenya, Charles Opiyo said although Kenya has made some strides in combating malnutrition, especially childhood malnutrition and reducing the prevalence of stunting in children under 5 years by 18 percent in the last 20 years, the progress has been too slow to achieve meaningful results towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

With a focus on improving healthy diets and enhancing access to nutritious food, the gathering aimed to shed light on the policy landscape and the concerted efforts required for effective implementation.

GAIN, through its CASCADE programme, has been championing for improved food security and addressing issues of malnutrition among women of reproductive age and children.

The meeting convened by GAIN stressed the importance of translating existing policies into tangible outcomes. The discussion revolved around the need for continued collaboration among stakeholders to amplify ongoing efforts nationwide.

One of the key policy initiatives under scrutiny is the One of the key policy initiatives of focus is the Agricultural Sector Growth and Transformation Strategy (ASTGS) under the Ministry of Agriculture, a 10-year plan that outlines a vision for transforming the agricultural and food systems.

Additionally, the one-day workshop examined the fortification strategy, particularly the challenges faced in its implementation and the critical role of counties in adopting domesticated strategies.

Highlighting the progress made so far, especially in larger urban counties such as Nairobi, and Mombasa, the participants acknowledged the need for a more localised approach.

“Several counties have taken the initiative to develop draft policies on fortification and safety, showcasing the potential impact of tailored strategies,” said Mr Opiyo.

The meeting also delved into the complex landscape of malnutrition in the country, identifying three critical forms of  undernutrition ( (stunting, wasting & underweight), rising non-communicable diseases, and micronutrient deficiencies, reckoning that urgent attention has to be directed towards addressing these issues collectively, by involving not only governmental bodies but also industry players and civil society.

The conversation extended beyond health concerns to encompass broader issues affecting the food system with concerns raised over taxation issues, which have curtailed the ability of businesses to supply nutritious, healthy and safe food to Kenyans

The meeting called for a comprehensive examination of tax regimes and an enabling environment for small and medium businesses involved in food fortification.

The participants stressed the importance of reducing costs along the supply chain to ensure the affordability and accessibility of safe and nutritious food for all.

Looking forward, the stakeholders streesed the need for a holistic transformation of food systems in Kenya.

Aligning with the global commitment to transform food systems by 2030, the meeting outlined five key pathways, including digitalisation, healthy diets, climate action, inclusivity, and partnerships/financing.