The inauguration of the Muranga agroecology policy and ACT on March 9th, 2023 will forever be etched in the annals of history as the pioneering county in Kenya to adopt a policy and act exclusively focused on agroecology. This occasion marked a momentous milestone and set the precedent for the agroecology movement and proponents in Kenya and around the world. The launch event, jointly organized by the Muranga County Government, the Institute for Culture and Ecology (ICE), and stakeholders associated with the Muranga Agroecology Multistakeholder Platform, aimed to provide a platform for agroecology practitioners to showcase their products and services, as well as establish connections for collaborative agroecology implementation.
Muranga County, as the frontrunner among the 47 counties in Kenya, has established an agroecology policy and Act, setting a precedent for other counties and stakeholders who have long been advocating for the integration of agroecology principles and practices into a legal framework through government policies and acts. Despite the promising prospects of agroecology in addressing the challenges faced by food systems, which have adverse effects on the environment and human health, the growth of agroecology has been hindered by the slow recognition of its benefits. This can be largely attributed to a lack of political support and inadequate regulatory frameworks to guide and promote the adoption and sustainability of agroecology. However, with the introduction of such policies and Acts, the government and agricultural stakeholders are obligated to provide both technical and financial support to enhance the implementation of agroecology.
During the launch event, Stephen Munania, the Deputy Governor of Muranga County, emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts among stakeholders to complement each other’s work. He expressed the county’s openness to collaborations through the Multistakeholder Platform and pledged support for agroecology initiatives, positioning Muranga as a center of excellence for the production of healthy agroecological foods. Martin Mwenda, the Executive Director of the Institute for Culture and Ecology, commended the unity demonstrated by stakeholders during the launch and emphasized its significance for the implementation of agroecology actions. He highlighted that the Muranga policy acknowledges the importance of a multistakeholder approach in driving agroecology implementation within the county, promoting collaboration and synergy-building among stakeholders.
For farmers, this was a moment of recognition for their diligent efforts in providing safe and nutritious food. The smiles on their faces were a testament to the positive impact that agroecology has had on their lives and livelihoods. Proudly showcasing their agroecological products, they expressed optimism about the future of agroecology and pledged to collaborate with the county government and other stakeholders to transform food systems in Kenya through agroecology. Given the escalating costs of inputs, agroecology brings relief to farmers as it enables them to apply local knowledge and produce low-cost farming solutions.
Looking ahead, Daniel Gitahi, the Chief Officer for Agriculture in Muranga County, emphasizes the importance of organizations implementing agroecology-related projects aligning themselves with the Multistakeholder Platform. He highlights that the Multistakeholder Platform serves as a think-tank for agroecology initiatives within the county, and the collective expertise and involvement of stakeholders will play a crucial role in advancing the county’s agroecology agenda.