The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) has launched a Ksh1.5 billion project aimed at elevating the consumption of healthy vegetables among Kenya’s households.

The project dubbed “Vegetable for All”, aims to contribute to improved nutrition through increased consumption of safe vegetables, a move that will see more than one million Bottom of the Pyramid consumers get adequate diets.

Speaking during the Launch, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi said there is a need to shift food choices toward nutritious foods that, if consumed adequately, would play a significant role in a healthy nation.

Mr Linturi said Kenyans are not having adequate vegetables as per World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations of 400 grammes a day.

“Kenya faces the triple burden of malnutrition. This encompasses undernutrition (stunting, wasting & underweight), and micronutrient deficiencies,” said Mr Linturi.

The recently released Kenya Demographic Health Survey report estimates that 18 percent of children between 6 and 59 months are stunted, 5 percent are wasted, 10 percent are underweight and 3 percent are overweight.

Participants follow proceedings during a breakfast meeting organised by Gain. Photo (courtesy).
Participants follow proceedings during a breakfast meeting organised by Gain. Photo (courtesy).

GAIN Country Director Ruth Okowa said the project is meant to improve the nutritious status in five counties of Kiambu, Machakos, Mombasa, Nakuru and Nairobi.

“The biggest challenge we are having is the uptake of vegetables, according to WHO, people should be able to consume at least 400 grammes of vegetables and fruits per day but in Kenya, only five percent of people do that, and a majority consume between 100 to 130 grammes of vegetables per day and this has a nutritional effect,” she said

She pointed out that the production of vegetables in some areas of the country was still low and decried high wastage through post-harvest loss.

She said they are training the last mile vendors on a pilot basis and are paying attention on issues of safety, and traceability by working with the suppliers. GAIN is targeting to work with at least 5,000 vendors under this project.