Challenging Kenyan Agribusiness to Bring More Nutritious Foods to Local Markets
Following the World Health Assembly’s 66th annual meeting in Geneva last week, one prominent question should be on every participant's mind: "Is what we are eating contributing to a healthy world?"
As leaders and families especially in poor countries struggle to ensure there is a meal on the table, we should not lose sight of the significance of the nutritional quality of that meal. It is the one fundamental indicator of the health of a nation or family.
Availability of food merely in quantities will not guarantee a healthy nation unless people are conscious of the contents of what they are eating.
Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is investigating how we can improve the nutritional quality of food and produce through agriculture. In Kenya, GAIN partners with government and the private sector to catalyze innovation and public awareness of healthy foods.
Last week, through GAIN’s recently launched Marketplace for Nutritious Foods (the Marketplace) platform, stakeholders are challenged to come up with creative business ideas that can foster sustainable production and consumption of nutritious foods in the country.
At an event to launch the Marketplace’s first call, over 60 participants joined GAIN in interactive discussions on the Marketplace process and how Kenyan agribusiness could generate innovative ideas.
A focus on food quality, not quantity
While many donors, investors, non-profits, and businesses in the agriculture sector are evolving to embrace market-based solutions, their primary focus appears to be on agriculture productivity and not on nutrition quality or diversity.
Further, entrepreneurs, smallholder farmers, and many businesses along the agriculture value chain face constraints that prevent them from scaling up and realizing their full potential to reduce malnutrition.
Such constraints range from lack of awareness to lack of resources thus inhibiting creativity. This call aims at eliminating the constraints and removing the market bottlenecks through incubating nutrition focused enterprising ideas, investing in them and providing a platform for networking.
The Marketplace starts with YOUR innovative idea to improve nutrition
An independent group of technical advisors with knowledge in nutrition, agriculture and marketing in Kenya will be responsible for evaluating each application and recommending awards.
Applications will be scored and ranked in the areas of sustainability, leverage, scalability, potential nutritional impact, agricultural production feasibility, potential for financial sustainability, and legal and ethical compliance.
Selected applicants will receive support from the Marketplace in developing business plans though technical and financial and networks of stakeholders in the community of practice.