The World Food Programme (WFP) and Turkana County Government will strengthen the implementation of the MoU on sustainable food systems which was signed in 2019. This was discussed when the Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro met with the new World Food Programme Country Director Lauren Landis who is visiting the County.
The partnership programme focuses on food and nutrition security, market linkages and building the county’s capacity. It is implemented by the County Government and supported by WFP. The Deputy Governor acknowledged that WFP presence in Turkana had transformed lives through its support to communities in humanitarian assistance and sustainability programmes.
He commended the agreement with WFP which intends to develop various value chains to build food security. This he said will help develop Turkana’s huge potential in food production and complement the County Government’s investment to achieve food security. Lotethiro called for more focus on innovation and encouraging more youth venture in agribusiness as a means to tackle the high unemployment rates.
He said the county valued partnership with WFP in developing fish production, beekeeping, poultry, fodder, sorghum and cowpeas as well as goat value chains. He agreed that provision of market linkages for the producers will help transform livelihoods for communities. He said that while efforts to combat acute malnutrition had borne fruits, more needed to be done to reduce the global acute malnutrition rates which stood at 26.5%.
The Country Director said as a former Director of Nutrition for WFP, she was passionate about working with government on food and nutrition programmes.
She agreed with the County Government objective to move beyond subsistence to commercial food production and proposed strengthening private sector involvement to achieve this.
Ms. Landis assured the Deputy Governor that though WFP had shifted its focus to sustainability projects, the organisation will still engage in its core work of disaster response. She promised that support to develop the Disaster Risk Management policy will continue to implementation after the County Assembly ratifies it.
WFP has also contributed in the development of the County ECDE policy and bill, built capacity of the ECDE feeding programme and supplied 240 energy saving stoves to select centres.
She assured of WFP’s commitment to working more closely with counties in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands to tackle the many challenges facing communities in these regions.
The County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries, Philip Aemun acknowledged WFP support to the county extension service and the revival of 45 irrigation schemes through flood-proofing existing irrigation infrastructure. He added that WFP has purchased sorghum from Morulem farmers thereby providing ready markets for the farmers’ bumper harvest.
CEC for Health Services and Sanitation Jane Ajele said the County Nutrition Action Plan developed with support from WFP and other partners will act as a blueprint for nutrition efforts. She added that 212 health facilities had benefited from nutrition supplements distributed with support from the organisation.