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Leveraging Municipal local government action to ensure sustainable food systems and improved nutrition

Building sustainable and resilient food systems in Soroti Municipality to guarantee food security and healthy diets for all by 2030.

Photo of Ismael Ocen
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Ocean One Social Research Centre

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small NGO (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.


Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Soroti Municipality (,33.6121558,15z

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Soroti municipality covers a total area of approximately 10,390 acres (35.86 Km2).

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Soroti Municipality is one of the 9 municipalities to be lifted in to city by 2021. Besides Nearly 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption is lost in here and its food and green waste comprise of more than 50% of all municipal waste, which is commonly the single highest budget. It is important because nearly 85 percent of the global population lives within three hours in this municipality with at least 150,000 residents 24. Hence, strengthening food systems across is key for the development of inclusive local economies that contribute to livelihoods and employment, urban-rural transformation and overall sustainable development. Am born and raised up in this urban town and my connection is also because I chair Municipal Devolvement Forum Platform. This one gives me to be personate that Food security and nutrition mainstreamed in all policies, strategies and planning, recognizing the need to create mutually reinforcing linkages between urban areas.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The two predominant ethnicities in the Municipality are the Iteso and the Kumam and the main languages spoken are Ateso, Kumam, and Swahili. The social dynamics, cultural traditions, language, and ethnic diversity form what has molded the municipality to be transformed into a proposed city status. The food People eat ranges from rice, millet bread, Cassava potatoes, peanuts which test natural and smell good. The climate and topography of Soroti has a humid and hot climate. It receives an annual rainfall of between 1,000mm-1200mm. Much rain is experienced between March- May, decreasing to light showers between June-August and again to heavy rains between September-November. The dry season begins in December and lasts up to February. It has an average minimum and maximum temperature of 180C-300C respectively. The unique cultural trends of Soroti Municipality dates back in 1962, when administrative structure was put in place. The Iteso love each other are welcoming with a lot of foods and drinks. They even give names of their children after the visitors whom the y value. Nearly 85 percent of the of that population lives within three hours of a city with at least 50 000 residents 24. Hence, strengthening food systems across the municipality and rural is key for the development of inclusive local economies that contribute to livelihoods and employment, rural transformation and overall sustainable development. This entails taking into account the complexity of rural-urban linkages and implementing responses that bridge rural and urban boundaries which this price expect to implement. The hopes of the people here is supporting active participation of all food system actors (particularly the most vulnerable) and building consensus on action. Enabling participation of the most vulnerable actors in food systems implies more than just having their voices heard. Their views need to be included in the decision-making, planning and design of sustainable food systems to reduce socioeconomic inequalities (including youth and gender-related biases), provide sustainable livelihoods to diverse food actors and guarantee food security and healthy diets for all. Food system participation can be strengthened at two main governance scales: a) at all level, including through the creation and empowerment of food system governance mechanisms that involve city and rural governments and through the engagement of food and agriculture actors in the development of urban policies; and b) at the city and territorial level, through the development of participatory mechanisms for food system assessment, planning and action that effectively include civil society, the private sector and community representatives, paying special attention to the participation of the most vulnerable stakeholders. The effect of diets on the health of the population has seen an increase in diabetes and other complication due to effect of urbanization.

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

The problem is embedded on lack of policy on urban food and nutrition that will help in strengthening the access to nutritious, affordable and acceptable food for sustainable communities and knowledge for approach to address urban food and nutrition as a critical aspect. This will lead to enhancing food value chains for access to healthy food in adequate quantities for urban dwellers while ensuring the environmental, social and economic sustainability. Communities in urban set up is experiencing high incidence of obesity and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and coronary problems, at a time when large segments of the population still face undernutrition and poverty-related diseases. This nutrition transition a term used to describe shifts in diet, physical activity, health, and nutrition can be traced to higher incomes, the influence of mass media and food marketing, and a range of changes in the nature of work and leisure. Policymakers have usually ignored policy on importance of urban food and nutrition security and rural urban interdependence something that is decisive to develop resilient agri-food systems. Our urban city lack policies on settlements that provide equal access to goods and services surrounding food and nutrition security, promote the integration of food and nutrition to meet the needs of urban residents, particularly the urban poor, to end hunger and malnutrition; and promote coordination of food security and agriculture policies across urban, peri-urban, and rural areas to facilitate the production, storage, transport, and marketing of safe and healthy food to consumers and to prevent food waste and conserve water and other resource use. This means achieving the second Sustainable Development Goal to: end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture is still far behind. There is no strong framework for urban food systems in relation to food and nutrition security but rural development has remain crucial program to reducing poverty and improving food security and nutrition, but this should not bar urban policies from supporting food systems and to analyses urban food and nutrition security issues for both urban migrants and urban residents. Urban leaders and other stakeholders must be able to use different designs, methods and approaches, and their interrelationships in planning for food and nutrition security in urbanizing societies. The policy should target food supply, accessibility, marketing and distributions and must also create targeted programs for the urban poor and food insecure. Up to now, urban policies, particularly those of donors, have tended to focus on issues of service delivery, shelter, and infrastructure. More thought needs to be given to Policies for enhancing productive employment for the urban poor that is, ensuring employability of and equal opportunities for the urban poor in an increasingly competitive urban labor market.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Engagement with stakeholders, Media Houses, Government, legislature, private sectors and other NGOs to advocate for policy development. The second is strengthening the capacity of urban leadership to be able to designs tools for effective urban governance to overcome population pressures and other approaches necessary in planning for food and nutrition security. I have a strong conviction that this approach will help in acknowledging the importance of shaping urban food systems that are more resilient, safe and facilitate greater access to nutritious foods; appreciating strategic role played by public and private, NGOs, Media houses, religious and cultural institutions to promote healthy diets. Additionally, to promote municipal food policies as an effective means to address the above mentioned challenges of growing cities with a comprehensive, interdisciplinary and inter-institutional approach.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Engagement with stakeholders to prioritize food systems in their policy agenda and seeking to re-envision food systems as part of their urban development, interlinked with the sustainability of other urban sectors (including transportation, water and land use, waste management and green infrastructure). Evidence shows that key stakeholders involved in urban planning require support in understanding the complexity of food systems and in building capacity to identify and formulate integrated urban food system plans and strategies to cope with these challenges. To address these needs, our organization will support decision-makers involved in urban and planning to develop evidence-based food system strategies that improve action-oriented relationships between local and national authorities, civil society, private sectors, academic institutions and other relevant food system actors. Special attention will be devoted to holistic capacity development for food system planning (i.e. supporting appraisals and the design and elaboration of action plans) that integrates food systems in the existing urban planning processes, contributes to infrastructural development and fosters agro-business innovation and agro-industrial investment. An essential element for enabling food system planning is the presence of effective food governance mechanisms that mobilize actors who represent the diversity of culture, geography, religion and economy of the city and can act both as a consulting forum for advising local governments, but also as a mechanism that can promptly identify dynamics and events that may threaten the local food system. Based on its relationships of trust with central governments, our Organization is well positioned to facilitate dialogue within local governance mechanisms, which should also include relevant institutions and be championed by the local government.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Regenerative and nourishing food future for my Place and People for 2050 requires my Municipality to sign Urban Food Policy Pact. This will shows that city is increasingly moving into establishing inclusive food governance mechanisms and comprehensive food policies. There is a striking lack of knowledge about the origins and flows of food, and about the power relations that shape urban food systems. To empower these governance mechanisms, Our organization will support the use of tools for food system appraisal, assessing with partners and local governments what tools and approaches that have already been piloted. Food system appraisals in this urban area and for effective urban food planning will to generate i) results efficiently; ii) produce sound data covering all population groups; iii) develop spatial analysis that is useful for modelling and elaborating specific place-based frameworks (e.g., identification of communities with distinctive needs within close distance); iv) map food-related policies; and v) determine overall links with other elements of urban/territorial planning, including natural resource planning. Although food system planning will be applied in diverse contexts that are immersed in economies of various size and healthiness, smart development approaches will be an ultimate goal in all instances. “Smartness” here is defined as comprising of a series of short-term and long-term investments that are affordable and produce a favorable benefit cost ratio. Acknowledging the rapid evolution of technologies to make food flows more efficient, Our organization will assist in promoting policies and governance mechanisms that ensure that the benefits produced by these advances reach the most vulnerable. Food supply chains are being digitized with technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), while distributed ledge technologies (DLTs), smart contracts and transaction systems are already on the horizon. Such technological advances have the potential to decrease uncertainty in product delivery and augment trust across the food system, opening up major opportunities for smallholders. This potential will only be realized if fair rules for the collection and use of information are set, and food system planning groups should advocate for this at national and international levels. The public sector, along with the private sector, can leverage these technologies through the management of key institutions (e.g., urban wholesale markets) and promote them for food product tracking, purchase transaction records, trucks sensors and mobile phone global positioning systems, which can help to close inequality gaps within Soroti Municipality and within communities. Food system strategies will contain a roadmap to facilitate a progressive integration of the rural-urban continuum and the resilience of the food system to sustain diverse shocks (e.g., civil, climate), including integration of safety nets and modalities of crisis preparedness. Ocean One Social Research Centre will support these processes through capacity building at the local level and through proposal development with aim to create an enabling environment for innovative business models. Different advisory models (i.e. beyond production) should be contemplated, based on the level of decentralization and the perceived needs of different stakeholders. Therefore, effective local governance mechanism is the pillar for implementation of programmes, and is also crucial for continuously promoting investment and regular food system analyses that facilitate the revision of strategies if and when needed. It is also key for the identification of key entry points into the food systems and of linkages that could be gradually built with other non-food systems at the urban. The likelihood that this municipality will enjoy inclusive and sustainable economic growth dynamics depends largely on how structures, institutions and governments interact as clusters to facilitate connections with profitable markets, access to land, productive structure and coordination of public investment by 2030..

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

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1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Kehinde Fashua

Hi Ismael Ocen  welcome to the Food System Vision Prize Community!
It's great to see you draft a vision that guarantees food security and healthy diets for Soroti Muncipality in 2050.
Make sure you have reviewed your final submission through the Pocket Guide to support you through the final hours of wrapping up your submission. This will give you the most important bullet points to keep in mind to successfully submit your Vision.Here is the link to the pocket guide:

Look forward to seeing your submission finalized by 31st January, 5:00 pm EST.