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Resource Oriented Development Initiative (RODI) have petitioned parliament to withdraw toxic pesticides that have been withdrawn in Europe due to their negative impacts on human health, environment and toxicity to pollinators.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 The findings reveal concerning use of pesticides including the ones that have been withdrawn in Europe and also high toxicity levels of pesticide residues in tomatoes and kale.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CSOs and Consumer engagements among others so that we can all work together to ensure that the toxic pesticides are withdrawn in Kenya; that safer alternatives are promoted and used by our farmers; that the relevant authorities do regular pesticide residue monitoring to assure Kenyans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

 

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

 

Kenya Organic Food Festival and Exhibition 2019

The Kenya Organic Food Festival and Exhibition 2018

Venue: Wangari Maathai Institute Kabete

Date: 21-22nd September 2019

Gate Entry: Free

The first of its kind in Kenya will host over 50 exhibitors including traders, farmers, input suppliers etc who will showcase what the Organic Food industry is all about.

The event is particularly tailored for families and organic farming enthusiasts, with more focus on learning and technology transfer.

The following programme of events will be followed;

 

Conference Title: Your Health, Your Wealth: What Governments can do to ensure Healthy Constituents.

Morning session

Objective: Understanding the Link between Food, Food Safety, Health and Nutrition

The morning session of the conference aims at addressing consumer’s Interests around:

  • Food safety
  • Food quality
  • Consumer health (Intrinsic and Extrinsic qualities)
  • Availability
  • Accessibility

The above themes can be refined into 3 main themes that also tie in nicely to policy issues within agriculture.

Table 1: Summary of the themes and topics to be covered in the discussions.

Theme # 1 2 3
Theme Title Designing sustainable food systems Heathy planet, Healthy people Nutrition
Description Availability and Accessibility of organic produce to consumers The links between healthy soils, healthy plants and animals and healthy human beings for sustainable Diet The complexities of nutrition with regards to culture traditions and taste and how to eat a balanced diet
Active partner/ Workshop facilitator HIVOS GAIN
Topics covered (Based on issues mentioned thus far) Food safety, Food quality, Accessibility, Affordability Awareness, Consumer Health, Availability Consumer Health, Acceptability
Approach (2hrs) Inspirational Master Classes in break out groups 1 1/4 hrs

 

There will be one lead facilitator for each theme. Participants will break into three groups based on interest. For each group there will be one expert of the theme/area of interest who will use a max 20 minutes to present/introduce the topic either through their real life experience of an ongoing innovative project/business case/idea in line with the main consumer issues.

 

Thereafter the floor opens up to gather feedback from the audience (10 min). The goal is that the audience understands the case,  and is inspired to be part of it and ask questions.

 

The next 30 minutes are open floor to talk about the audiences experiences, inspirations, ideas and how they could be a part of this/support/ connect/ grow the idea. The main points are jotted down and the facilitator keeps these in mind to improve the presentation and information.

 

In the final 15 minutes, the main points are summarised, ways forward are given and the facilitator adds these points. This is used to inspire the plenary session

 

In the 15 minutes, all participants are asked to return to the main room for the inspirational summary, through which the three facilitators will have 10 min each to present their case again, what is good, what they will continue working on and also what is missing and partners they are looking for. This is done in panel formation.

Needs Timekeepers (3x), 1x plenary moderator, 3x workshop facilitators, 2hrs

 

Afternoon Session

Objective: What Counties are doing to ensure healthy constituents

The afternoon session aims at sharing what County Governments can do to support Ecological Organic Agriculture. The idea is for Counties that are already supporting EOA can inspire others on what they are doing so that others can learn and also support in their Counties.

Approach:

Three Counties will be selected to share their experiences. Participants will break into three groups and in each group one county will share how they are supporting EOA in their respective Counties in 10 -15 minutes. Then the audience will have 20-30 minutes to suggest other specific areas where they would like County Governments to support. The County officials will be given an opportunity to advise on practicalities and whether the ideas can be taken up and advise on the best approaches. The key potential ideas will be summarized and be presented at plenary. These will be take home messages for County Governments and basis for Civil Society Organizations to undertake follow ups.

Day 2: September 20th 2019 – Organic Food and Eco Festival

Objective: To show case organic products, innovations and other environmentally friendly technologies

The day will be a family out fun day where different age groups will be entertained, informed on the benefits of eating organic and have an opportunity to purchase organic and other environmentally friendly products. Below are some of the activities that will take place on the day.

Food Cooking Competition

The chefs will cook food using fresh organic vegetables found at the organic market

The idea is that the chef explains her/his meals, get people involved in cooking with her/him while explaining the health benefits of such foods. Location in the kitchen.

Farmers Market

Farmers sell and explain their organic journey – Challenges and Opportunities in Organic Production marketing and how consumers could participate in the development of organic food system

Organic/Healthy Treasure Hunt

Organic certified treats offered (These could be from Kenya and other countries)

Art-related activities: Painting, art and story-telling via art

Opportunity for people to draw their opinion of an organic system/city/county/neighbor hood

Face painting relating to organic things/things needed for a healthy ecosystem. Think of trees, bees, flowers, clean air, clean water, soils (worms), the sun,

Comedy: Comedian to tell jokes relating to the truth of our current food economy and what needs to change

Home gardening: Workshop on how one can plant and grow their vegetables or herbs at  home

Other recreational facilities include:

Bouncing castle

Entertainment/concert at the Amphitheater

Football (mini courts)

 

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Wangari Maathai Institute

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Wangari Maathai Institute -1.247654, 36.729097 Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies

Food Inspection

KOAN

conducts inspections and analysis on foods sampled in different markets all over the country or commissions scientists to conduct such food analysis. This is in a bid to:

1. Safe Guard authenticity of organic food. Organic foods should not have any synthetic chemicals or heavy metal residues, by conducting such food analysis we are able to ascertain that the standards have been maintained and that the consumers are getting what they pay a premium for. If a contravention is detected, consumers will be warned and traceability will be conducted to identify the perpetrator and make sure their product are no loner marketed as organic.

2. Provide consumers with knowledge about food safety, pesticide residues are common place in Kenya, a fact that most might not be aware of. Therefore presenting scientific evidence of such findings provide consumers with tangible reasons to transition to organic.KOAN Staff collecting vegetable samples for food analysis in local market