Food Security in Kisumu: A Call for Greater Engagement in the Urban Food System
Opiyo, Paul Otieno
Agong, Stephen Gaya
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This project briefing note is informed by the findings of the ESRC-DFID-funded Consuming Urban Poverty project (formally called “Governing Food Systems to Alleviate Poverty in Secondary Cities in Africa”). Work in Kisumu was conducted in 2016-2017 and generated data on food security, food systems and governance. The implications of the project’s findings are presented here. This brief is targeted at non-governmental organisations and other actors outside government. It ends with policy suggestions. As suggestions, these are in no way prescriptive and readers may wish to generate their own responses informed by their own organisational mandates. Household poverty and food insecurity: The Consuming Urban Poverty food security survey found high levels of poverty in Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya. While income poverty is high across the city, lived poverty is multidimensional, the project argues. It therefore used the Lived Poverty Index (LPI) as a measure of poverty. According to the LPI, deprivation was not uniform among the five LPI parameters: insufficient food affecting 53.6%; not enough clean water for home use affecting 57%; lack of medicine or medical treatment affecting 49.7%; not enough fuel to cook household food affecting 50.1%; and lack of cash income affecting 64.9%. Of the LPI parameters, income poverty at 64.9% was the highest and most critical, given that households in the city depend mainly on food purchased from the market. The LPI also indicates that poverty is higher in the peri-urban neighbourhoods than in inner-city neighbourhoods.