Barefoot Guide to Surviving COVID19- A Mighty Healthy Read

So  COVID19 hit us, right in the kidneys where it really hurts. Economies worldwide are smarting from the disruptions which forced many people to hole up in “Safety”. All rushing to stock up on tissue paper and hand sanitizer, in an effort to flatten the curves which were all so wavy and steep. The COVID pandemic has had its up and downs, but for the organic industry especially in Kenya (I can only speak for Kenya), it has seen a greater demand for healthy chemical free food, just ask Sylvia’s Basket  and she’s bound to have some inspiring financial records.

But we’re digressing, lets get to the matter at hand. The message of Let Thy Food be Thy Medicine and Thy Medicine Thy Food, really struck home. Many people are consciously transitioning into healthy chemical free food a.k.a Organic Food and they’re reaping the benefits.

Let Thy Food be Thy Medicine and Thy Medicine Thy Food

Food has always been a hot topic in Kenya (pun intended), and that’s why this interesting book is sure to have your mind salivating.

The Barefoot Guide to Surviving COVID19 is written by the Natural Food Barefoot Guide Writer’s Collective, a group of highly influential food advocates from Africa. Key among the writers is our very own Peter Mokaya CEO of the Organic Consumers Alliance.

COVID19 is a deadly disease which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives to date, it is sad that despite the damage the pandemic has had on the health and welfare of the human race, many are still divided on how to handle it. The Guide appreciates the magnitude of COVID19 but is keen to emphasize on the role of diet in strengthening our immunity.

Illustration from Chapter 1

The beauty of the book (aside from the great graphics and illustrations) is the easy language and story telling format it takes on which makes for a delightful read. The book focuses on indigenous African dishes which are available (depending on you locale) in open markets. It has 5 Chapters each very important to read which take the reader along the lives of different characters and holds your hand while explaining some highly technical topics but in a very laid back manner. The Guide is neither too technical nor is it over simplified to be of little use to those with background knowledge of the topics discussed.

The book is written by Africans for Africans and presents African solutions to Global problems

It explains the misconceptions that exist in the food industry while giving tangible solutions. From issues of negative impacts of high fat and calorie diets , to how to start your own garden are covered. The book paints a realistic holistic picture of the ordinary citizens quest for healthy food for their family and the challenges in misinformation that exist while giving feasible solutions to the problems presented.

The book is written by Africans for Africans and presents African solutions to global problems. It is a must read and the information contained is priceless. The COVID19 Pandemic is still raging, its not too late to change neither is it too late to improve.

The Guide is currently Free to Download on the Organic Consumers  Alliance (OCA) Website

https://www.organicconsumers.co.ke

https://www.organicconsumers.co.ke

 

*Extended* CALL FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST PROJECT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT

DEADLINE : September 30th 2020

PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR KOAN PROJECT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT

1.0 About KOAN

Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) is a national membership organization for organic agriculture in Kenya. KOAN was formed to coordinate, facilitate and provide leadership and professional services to all members and other stakeholders in the organic agriculture sector in Kenya. KOAN Membership is derived from farmers, traders, exporters, service providers (extension officers, certification bodies) and research institutions. The organization goal is to develop key competencies, skills and strategies in the areas of Organic Production; Marketing; Standards and Certification; Training, Extension and Information Exchange; Networking, Policy and Advocacy. In order to effectively dispense its mandate of availing quality organic produce to consumer’s at the most convenient way, KOAN would like to develop an in house project management and tracking system. The aim is to develop a dynamic system that has functionality of CRM, project tracking, task management and reporting to Kenya Organic Agriculture Network

2.0 Services required.

KOAN is looking for a service provider to develop a project management system for the organization and pillar implementing partners in Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative (EOAI). The system will be used to manage donor projects in line with the acceptable project management benchmarks and methodologies and profile ease monitoring of project activity progress on real time basis.

3.0 System Description

The KOAN Project management System is envisioned to be a holistic platform which allows for tracking of projects and project activities in line with donor grant contracts for KOAN and its partners. Initially, it will be created to incorporate 3 partners in Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative with a possibility of expanding in the future to cover more partners. It should provide most of the features acceptable in project management and go above by providing tracking and alerting capabilities from Goal, outcomes, outputs and activities.

3.1 Product perspective

The Kenya Organic Agriculture Network is looking for a custom project management software developed in line with KOAN operating principles, procedures, systems and constraints. The system should be interoperable with other existing KOAN custom systems and allow for customization based on arising needs. The system also needs to be agile and flexible.

3.1.1 Product features

The Systems should have the following minimum features;

  1. Project planning and scheduling-

Shared timelines to activate experience and creativity of entire teams to collaboratively create and visualize a project plan. A process where one can easily define the project goals, objectives and specify the work to be done/activities related to this scope. Analyze the required activities and create a detailed plan that shows how and when the project will provide the deliverables defined in the project scope.

Key deliverables to include- Gantt charts and Timelines

Daily up to yearly timeline; Real-time updates; Integrated task management; Multi-project timeline report; Follows-precedes relationships; Fully customizable columns and filters

  1. Product roadmap and release planning

Create easy ways to plan, visualize, and communicate product/project roadmap. Ability to share product roadmap with stakeholders, get feedback about ideas and break it down into a detailed release plan. Align product roadmaps with company’s corporate strategy and create buy-in and transparency across all teams.

Key deliverables to have

Project Status in progress bar; Multi-project roadmap; Analyze status, priority, assigned person; Scoped based on user permissions; Compare estimated time and actual time; Document key information in wiki

  • Task management and team collaboration

Task management software to easily create, assign and manage work. Allow the project manager to stay always on top of the latest development. Create a dynamic task list to provide an overview of all the work that has to be completed. See the progress, who is working on which tasks and what tasks have an approaching deadline. Ability to transition easily to project planning by activating the Gantt chart and setting dates as well as relationships between tasks.

Key deliverables to have;

Inline editing; Integrated Gantt chart; Custom permissions; Email updates; Custom fields; Custom workflows; Create your own view; Export as PDF, XLS, CSV;

  1. Use of Project Management Methodology Boards (KANBAN, AGILE, SCRUM)

Ability to have boards for: managing tasks, developing new features, prioritizing activities, monitoring risks, planning sprints or releases, spreading ideas, anything! Flexible boards which can be configured to user needs, easy to get started and fun to work with.

  1. Time tracking, cost reporting and budgeting

The system should make time tracking easy. Stay on top of project budgets and costs spent. Create custom reports for accurate, current insight into project performance and allocated resources. Plan the cost for each project phase, and see how much of the allocated budget has been spent at a glance.

Key deliverables to have;

Project budgets; Custom cost types; Project-based hourly rates; Dashboard; Share cost reports; Custom fields; Custom permissions; Export as CSV; Integrated project management features;

  1. Project wiki

Ability to collaboratively create and maintain a project wiki. Manage project documentation, references, guidelines, user manual at one central place and create a knowledge base for projects and share it with team and other stakeholders. Ability to easily insert, edit and format texts (e.g. copy and paste from Word), include tables, pictures, links, and other references to the System (e.g. work package tables, Gantt charts or tickets). Have all changes at one site, or export texts (e.g. in Markdown). Create detailed navigation structure with a side menu, table of contents, and site hierarchies.

 

3.1.2 User classes and characteristics

  • Types of users:
  • KOAN Project Staff
  • Project partners
  • Contractors working for KOAN
  • Technical expertise:
  • Project Managers/ Officers need to be conversant with project management principles and practices
  • All users’ needs to have minimal technical expertise (need to know how to use the mouse and keyboard)

 

3.1.3 Operating environment

This program will operate in the following operating environment for the client and the server

GUI:

  • Apple Mac OS X (Universal)
  • Linux/Unix (Source code)
  • Microsoft Windows (Installer)
  • Web browser (universal)

 

3.1.4 System requirements

The system shall be available online through company VPN

The system shall be installed on the company server (Window Server 2010) .

 

4.0 Time frame

The estimate start date is October 2020 with final hand over expected not later than 4 months from the signing of service contract.

5.0 Expertise required

KOAN is therefore looking for a qualified consultant to undertake the services indicated above. The consultant should have the following:

  1.  Incorporated Company – with Tax compliance certificate
  2.  Formal training at a degree level on computer literacy or related.
  3. Have a profile of at least 3 CMS and Object Oriented Systems similar to the specifications in question he/she has developed. This should be supported by contact persons and contacts of the clients.
  4. At least 5 years’ experience in the field of developing mobile based applications and web based systems with end to end functionality.

 

6.0 Payment

The prospective consultant is requested to send a financial proposal indicating daily rate of payment, number of days that he/she will take and total cost inclusive of taxes.

7.0 Technical approach

The consultant should send a proposed technical framework for developing the application.

The technical framework and budget should be sent to KOAN not later than 10th September 2020 COB on info@koan.co.ke For any enquiries call 0728 772 805

Call EoI – Project management System

 

City Food Systems


By Prof. Raphael G Wahome edited by Zachary Kimari

Cities are largely dependent on the rural areas for food. Unwittingly, they usually are the final and most important component of the complete city food system. In a nutshell, the food system is simply  an economic system, that facilitates  production, aggregation, processing and distribution of food to city dwellers; with proceeds flowing back through the value chain actors’ and even further  back to input manufacturers. However, it is much more complex than that it seems. It has effects on soil structure, fertility and water-holding capacity; resilience to climate change, crop, animal and human productivity; food security, health and biodiversity; social capital, employment generation, gender; and general national development. It is therefore apparent, that it transcends geopolitical relationships, politics, governance, social and cultural aspects.

The demand for affordable foods in the cities grows at the rate of population growth modulated by changing tastes and cultural diversity. There is also a  similar increase in enterprises to meet this demand, driven by desire for profit.  These enterprises span across the provision of needed inputs and equipment, through aggregation transport and distribution to the consumer industry of retailing and restauranting. 


Interest to make money has overridden core needs of sustainability, health, fairness and care

Opportunity for gain abounds, since people must eat. In modern times, interest to make money has overridden core needs of sustainability, health, fairness and care. The consequences are manifest in depleted and poisoned soils, loss of biodiversity, exponential increase in non-communicable diseases,  oppression and exploitation of the producing communities and urban poor.In their current state, city food systems are not sustainable and are failing to meet food and nutrition needs for all.

Farmer Spraying Farm

Increasing demand for food is linked to greater, intensified and extensive  use of synthetic agricultural inputs. Ultimately Modern farming has  been equated to desertion of nature for production needs. It does this at a high cost to the environment and resultant loss of resilience among the poor.  The cost of biodiversity loss or for ecosystems services is not met by the current system. Approximately 60% of the ecosystem services examined in the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment are being degraded or used unsustainably (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment – Synthesis, 2005).  Finally, nature has started to fight back. Now even FAO has recognized the need for “production intensification through ecosystem management” (Plant Production and Protection Division, www.fao.org/ag/AGP). That ideally, consumers should care about what they eat is produced, how safe and nutritious it is, has come as a revelation to many. 

Despite this “revelation” agricultural production tends to follow the same old cue. It seems as if the only approvable model of agricultural production in the developing world must ape that in developed world – meaning greater intensification and mono-cultural production dependent upon stronger push for more synthetic input. It is thus easy to predict the outcome. With nature fighting back, more inputs must be made available for less production until vast portions of hitherto productive land lies in waste. Examples abound globally and locally.

The following article appeared on the Kenya Organic Food Festival and Exhibition 2018 Proceedings

ORGANIC BUSINESS SUMMIT: DEVELOPING PARTNERSHIPS FOR NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

DATE: 3RD DECEMBER 2020

TIME: 8:30 AM- 1.00PM

EVENT TYPE: Invite Only

ORGANIZERS : KOAN , KALRO , FIBL,  AFRICROPS LTD, OACK


The Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN) together with its partners will be hosting a first of kind organic industry business event on Thursday, 3rd December 2020 (9.00am) via Zoom platform . The Organic industry is the fastest growing subsector in agriculture globally, trading billions of dollars’ worth of products annually. This global trend is gaining pace in Kenya with people seeking healthy food amidst the Covid19 pandemic and food safety lapses in local food supply come to light. A burgeoning middleclass is fast becoming picky with food and export markets are becoming increasingly critical on sustainability, carbon emissions and pesticide residues.

The Kenya Organic Agriculture Network has been an industry leader making meaningful business linkages within the organic space. KOAN has assisted notable companies with strategic and much needed advisory and farmer linkage services that have led to millions of dollars’ worth of trade both locally and for export to date. In a bid to rapidly expand the organic space, KOAN has partnered up with the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Africrops Limited, the Organic Agriculture Centre of Kenya (OACK) among other organizations to foster organic market development by focusing on both the domestic and export market.

The Organic Business Summit is an invite only event to present an organic sector survey implemented in Kenya during 2020, and to move ahead in jointly exploring organic business opportunities for the local and export market particularly focusing on organic products originating from Murang’a County. The County has some of the most pristine and prime land with the highest number of organic farmers in Kenya supplying fresh fruits and vegetables. The county has great potential for both local and export markets.

Latest date to sign up for the event is 27th November 2020.

 

Resources

PMCA PHASE 1 REPORT

Project Report 2019_Kenya PMCA Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship Capacity on Market Linkage for Organic Smallholder Farmers x

 

White Paper – PESTICIDE USE IN KIRINYAGA AND MURANG’A COUNTIES: A WAKE UP CALL FOR BETTER PEST CONTROL STRATEGIES

KOAN Institutional Profile

Kenya Organic Directory 2018

Kenya EOA Sector Strategic Plan 2018-2023

REPORT LAUNCH – PESTICIDE USE IN KIRINYAGA AND MURANG’A COUNTIES: A WAKE UP CALL FOR BETTER PEST CONTROL STRATEGIES

Date: 7th October 2020  Time: 9.30 am  Location: Virtual (Zoom)
https://zoom.us/j/4644089596?pwd=djBFL0twOWNQR3RCNnZVZVdWSFdTUT09 
Meeting ID: 464 408 9596
Passcode: q9H4Jw

 

About the Event

KOAN, Route To Food Initiative (RTFI), Biodiversity Biosafety Association (BIBA) and Resource Oriented Development Initiative (RODI) have petitioned parliament to withdraw toxic pesticides that have been withdrawn in Europe due to their negative impacts on human health, environment and toxicity to pollinators.

As a follow up to a study done in 2019 by RTFI that informed the petition, this year, KOAN undertook a pesticide monitoring survey in Murang’a and Kirinyaga counties to check whether the identified pesticides are available and in use in the two Counties. We also did pesticides residue testing on tomatoes and kales. The findings reveal concerning use of pesticides including the ones that have been withdrawn in Europe and also high toxicity levels of pesticide residues in tomatoes and kale.

The study findings will be presented Wednesday, 7th October via zoom from 9.30 AM, where the report will be launched.

Please Join the Zoom Meeting using the details below
https://zoom.us/j/4644089596?pwd=djBFL0twOWNQR3RCNnZVZVdWSFdTUT09

Meeting ID: 464 408 9596
Passcode: q9H4Jw

We also plan for more sensitization by distribution of the report; County and National Governments engagements; CSOs and Consumer engagements among others so that we can all work together to ensure that the toxic pesticides are withdrawn in Kenya; that safer alternatives are promoted and used by our farmers; that the relevant authorities do regular pesticide residue monitoring to assure Kenyans of safe food.

“Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’, often ascribed to Hippocrates (400 BC)”

 

Resources

  1. WhitePaper on Pesticides Use in Kirinyaga and Murang’a Counties (9mb file)
  2. Policy Brief – Pesticides Study – Policy Brief
  3. Summary of Pesticides Petition – Summary – Kenya Pesticides Petition
  4. Access SaferInputs.com Database – www.saferinputs.com