Workshop objectives

This was a regional workshop held at the Campus of International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), attended by approximately 40 participants from 6 countries and 32 organisations. It was organized by the International Intitute for Environment and Development (IIED) in collaboration with ILRI in Nairobi, Kenya as from 12-14th October 2015.

The workshop had the following objectives:

  • Understand and contextualize the importance of food consumption, urbanisation and rural transformations and their impacts on the rural-urban livelihoods, development and economies
  • Identify the current trends in food consumption of urban and rural low income communities
  • Understand on how the government and other civil societies are collaborating to co-produce better services, infrastructure and their knowledge on food security
  • Inform on what would a new consumption-oriented food security policy agenda look like
  • Identify the policy innovations that have potential for replication and priority issues for research, knowledge integration and advocacy
  • Understand on how to operationalize and scale up the priorities, towards further consolidation of knowledge, policy dialogue and new interdisciplinary research
SESSION 1: Workshop perspectives

The first session focused primarily on conceptual discussions and clarifications with brief presentations. In the subsequent discussions there was general agreement that it is important to move away from looking at cities from a broader perspective or as a unit rather as having segments with different problems requiring specific solutions. More work is needed to clarify the concepts and the different actors within the food value chain.

SESSION 2: Food Transitions-Rural an Urban

The session reviewed the insights on the current trends in food consumption of urban and rural low-income groups in Kenya and East Africa, with presentations covering the key issues in food security for the residents of urban low income settlements and in food security for rural net food buyers.

SESSION 3: Urbanization and Rural Transformation

The key highlights from this session were:

  • Governments are concerned about food safety.
  • The informal and formal sectors are interwoven with other resource networks based on urban-rural complementariness.
  • Agricultural shifts favour urban areas but as a result also affect the rural areas.
  • Participatory regulation is key taking into account the participants.
  • When looking at transformations it is important to look at how the rural and urban are co-developing.
  • A city would halt if the operations within the informal settlements stopped functioning.
  • Informal is not unsafe and formal may not be safer either.
  • The informal markets are big, feed a high number of people, and they are here to stay.
SESSION 4: Policy Priorities and Support to Innovative Initiatives

The key highlights from this session were:

  • There is need to have evidence based data.
  • Integrate and systems-based solutions to guide sector development along a sustainable pathway.
  • Have inter-county approaches to guarantee food availability.
  • Mitigate the waste management in Nairobi by building sewage systems upstream and downstream.
  • View the urban-rural linkages as a continuum rather than a single entity
  • Properly disaggregated research data to all the economic strata.
SESSION 5: Towards a new policy agenda

Key priority areas identified in this session were:

  • Adopt a cconsumption oriented food policy
  • Reduce wastage of food and encourage recycling and resilience
  • Policy should be inclusive and multi-sectoral, targeting everyone in the chain
  • A city should be viewed from a socio-diversified differentiated perspective
  • It is important to first think of food insecurity and be specific where urbanisation is occurring
  • Informal systems respond fundamentally to the problems of the poor people and they are part of the solution
  • The informal sector is a vibrant sector for employment and poorly understood by governments and international organisations
  • Every city is different requiring solutions to their unique problems
  • Transformational change comes from individuals
  • Sometimes it is not just about technical issues but also about voice and power
  • Prioritize on food and nutritional security
  • Enlighten consumers on how is the food they eat produced
  • Urban planning
  • Capacity building for all food chain actors


So as to identify the priority areas, participants were initially informed to write one idea of what they believe is a priority area that needs to be focused on to move the conservation ahead in tandem with the workshop agenda. Out of the over 30 ideas from the participants, six thematic areas were identified, namely: Capacity building, methodology, linkages, additional evidence, policy/advocacy, and enforcing local regulations. Based on these thematic areas the participants were further clustered into groups to deliberate further on these thematic areas. The following were the outcomes (click image to view):

From the six thematic areas detailed from the above section, 3 key action-areas were identified, namely: Knowledge gaps, interdisciplinary research and policy/advocacy. Based on these three action-areas participants were engaged to develop three achievable ideas and develop them. To know about the action-areas, be visiting this page for the full report that will be posted latter next week or follow us on twitter and also constantly view our blog page for updates.


Field visit at Mathare


Group Work Session

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