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Nairobi Food System Vision 2050 for improved nutrition and better health in Kenya

A sustainable food system for Nairobi based on smart production, artificial intelligence interface for personalized nutrition and health

Photo of Daniel Ndaka Sila
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Researcher Institution

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

A multi-institutional consortium comprising of local partners will be involved: 1. County Government of Nairobi – Regional Government with constitutional responsibility for design and implementation food systems policies. 2. Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) – State agency responsible for food standards, quality and safety 3. Agricultural Industry Network – Umbrella member-based organization that brings together various actors in the food production segment of various value chains within the food system. 4. Kenya Association of Manufacturers – umbrella association of manufacturers including those involved in food processing. 5. Kenya Private Sector Alliance –private sector apex and umbrella body 6. Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) - NGO focusing on improving food and nutrition in the market place 7. Food and Agriculture Organization- Africa Regional Office – Un agency leading efforts in agriculture and food systems.

Website of Legally Registered Entity

http://www.jkuat.ac.ke/

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

  • Under 1 year

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

Nairobi, Kenya

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Kenya

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

Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya, with an approximate area of 703.9km2. The vision will also cover its peri-urban areas.

What country is your selected Place located in?

Kenya

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

JKUAT is located within the proposed territorial region of the food system vision. The University’s main campus is 35km from the Nairobi city center and has other satellite centres within the territorial region. The University’s proximity to most government organs that formulate policies relating to Food and Nutrition Security and the peri-urban and rural food producing communities makes it a suitable interlocutor within the food system. JKUAT is currently a regional Anchor University (RAU) in Agri-food Systems and Nutrition with collaboration with academia, industry, government agencies, Non-governmental organisation, and food producers. JKUAT has been involved in the development of various food and nutrition policies and strategies which stimulate agricultural growth. 

The university’s mandate is on training, research and outreach for the benefit of the community and industry and has created frameworks that allow it to with other stakeholders to deliver on the Country’s food and nutrition goals.  Some of the ongoing initiatives that exemplify this collaborative capacity include;  the Legume Centre of Excellence for Food and Nutrition Security, the EU Funded Food Fortification Project, Centre of Excellence for Research and Innovation in indigenous Bioresources and Climate Change Adaptation, National Research Chair on Manufacturing, Institute for Biotechnology Research, Centres for research on insects for food and feed, Africa ai Japan, among others. These centres integrate Food System thinking approaches in their implementation. The existing pool of knowledge and innovations will synergistically create the initial seed for creating a sustainable Food system for Nairobi and its environment. Since 2017, the University has been working with the County Government of Nairobi and other stakeholders to develop an urban food system strategy with support from UN, FAO.

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.

Nairobi is the largest urban area in Kenya. The city is home to about 8% of Kenya’s population. Nairobi had an average annual growth rate of 4.9% between 1962 and 2011, while the national growth rate was 2.6%. Although Nairobi contributes 12.7 % to Kenya’s GDP, unemployment and poverty rates are increasing annually. As a result of its particularly rapid growth, the city faces a number of development challenges, including rising poverty and reduced food and nutrition security for the urban poor. The section below provides a deeper insight into the people and place.

People: Nairobi City has a total population of 4,397,073 of diverse races (KNBS 2019). However, Majority of them are black Africans drawn from the 43 tribes of Kenya. Population demography indicates that men are 49.8% of the total population while women account for 50.2%. This indicates that the population is equal by gender. The County has a total of 1,506,888 households each comprising on average 2.9 persons (lower than the national average of 3.9). The County has the highest population density in Kenya with 6247 persons/km2. The education level varies within the County but majority of the residents have basic education (primary or secondary). According to the Kenya Economic survey of 2017, most of the residents (36%) are poor ( monthly income of USD 237 and below).  The proportion of the population that belong to the middle income (USD 237- 1200) is 44% while 20% belong to the upper income group (above USD 1200). The growth rate of Nairobi is currently 4.1% a year. It is estimated that Nairobi's population will reach 5 million in 2025 (World Fact book, 2018).

Place – Nairobi is the capital city of Kenya,  centrally located within the Country and was founded in 1899 by the British as a rail depot on the Uganda Railway. The city serves as the administrative and commercial capital of Kenya. It has a land mass of 703.9km2 that is surrounded by Kiambu, Machakos, Kajiado, Nakuru Counties. Other counties which significantly contribute to the food basket of the City include, Muranga, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Embu, Meru, Narok and Nyandarua. The County is subdivided in 11 administrative sub-Counties (Dagoretti, Kamukunji, Embakasi, Kasarani, Kibra, Lang’ata, Makadara, Mathare, Njiru, Starehe, Westlands)   of different sizes and social classes.  It lies adjacent to the eastern edge of the rift valley at an altitude of 1661 metres above the sea level. The weather is excellent with mild temperatures during the day 20-26oC) though it might get cold during the night. Nairobi is home to thousands of Kenyan businesses and over 100 major international companies and organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the United Nations Office at Nairobi. While the city has made efforts to grow its transport infrastructure (roads, rail and airports), the population growth has created pressure on the existing transport network. 

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

703

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

4397070

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

By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas leading to poverty and food insecurity. Main challenges discussed below:

Diet: In Nairobi, about 1 million people are hungry while a similar number are obese. This is likely to worsen with increased population, food losses and climate change. Most diets are starchy staples with limited protective foods. Other challenges include;

  • Inequalities in food access
  • Poor understanding on healthy diets
  • Dietary transition towards junk foods leading non-Communicable Diseases

Culture: Nairobi has diverse cultures on foods. In the past, local less processed foods were common but they are being replaced by more processed foods which are low fiber and micronutrients, rich in saturated fats and sugar. The key challenges are;

  • Perceptions and attitudes which discourage consumption of local foods
  • Emergence of fast food chains leading to the preference for over processed diets
  • Food taboos and ethnic attachment that hinder consumption of some foods
  • Lack of integrated approach for behavior change on diets
  • Gender disparities in food access

Policy: Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the current government’s Big Four agenda (2018-2022), commits to food and nutrition security for all Kenyans. However the following challenges exist;

  • Weak rural and urban food system linkages
  • Production biased policies
  • Complex governance systems and implementation failures

Environment. Nairobi once had a reputation as a healthy place characterized by natural forests, and wetlands. Key challenges include;

  • Reliance on informal food markets with dilapidated infrastructure
  • Increasing food safety concerns and related food borne diseases
  • Pollution of key ecosystems (sewage, industrial waste, heavy metals)
  • Conversion of fragile ecosystems into built up areas
  • Weak regulatory framework for monitoring environmental and safety
  • Poor city planning
  • Poor management of food losses and waste

Technology: Nairobi is a regional ICT hub and houses leading companies. Emerging food production innovations include vertical gardening, aquaponics and precision agriculture and value addition technologies. The main challenges include:

  • Application and integration of technological innovations is limited
  • Limited funding for research, innovation and incubation for food business startups

Economics: Nairobi residents spend over 30% of their income on food. This is worsened by rising food prices, poverty and unemployment. Food access is constrained by;

  • Lengthy food chains which make food expensive
  • High food losses which impede availability and affordability of food
  • Poor infrastructure and weak business support
  • High volatilities in food prices

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

We propose the following solutions:

Diets

  • Creating equity in the food system
  • Increase for demand healthy foods
  • Marketing of healthy foods, while simultaneously limiting the prevalence of less nutritious foods.
  • Increases sensitization on nutrition and health
  • Utilization of artificial intelligence and other technologies to support uptake of personalized nutrition sensitive diets

Culture

  • Supporting and actively maintaining historic food system knowledge and diets
  • Promotion of nutritionally rich local diets through behavior change communication
  • Nutrition education and use of ICT to support personalize nutrition rich diets
  • Diversification of the food palate beyond ethnic borders
  • Integration of behavior change approaches in training

Policy

  • Integration of food issues into urban planning.
  • Adopt a territorial approach and systems perspective that encompasses the complex range of actors
  • Review city regulations to support an integrated food system from production, distribution, processing, consumption and waste management
  • Develop regulations to enhance the integration of nutrition education, gardening and sustainable food systems in the school curriculum

Environment

  • Support the development of food market infrastructure for ease of access of safe and nutritious food
  • Integration of quality management systems across the food system
  • Control and regulation of pollutants from food production to consumption
  • Promote sustainable food production and consumption
  • Promote uptake of innovative food production systems such as vertical gardening
  • Strengthening partnerships that promote resilient food systems
  • Strengthen the governance and planning of the city address environmental and safety issues
  • Develop policies and incentives that target reduction of food waste

Technology

  • Integration of ICT and innovative food production and processing technologies in the food system
  • Enhanced funding for research, technology development and innovation in the food systems
  • Promote the utilization of artificial intelligence and automation in the food system

Economics

  • Enhance efficiencies in food distribution through adoption of ICT and other innovative food distribution models
  • Support intelligent food production, distribution and consumption systems to reduce food waste
  • Enhance food system infrastructure, such as aggregation and storage facilities, commercial kitchens, and public market spaces to enhance value added production
  • Support entrepreneurship across food businesses by developing small, local businesses and a well-rounded entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Support interventions to make food markets work for the poor and other marginalized groups

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.

The Nairobi Food System Vision will provide a platform for a more resilient city that will boast of a health population and an environmentally friendly city. The place will be characterized by clean riverine ecosystems, blooming forest cover and well defined transport infrastructure. Food waste and the related environmental pollutants will reduce. It is envisioned that Nairobi gastronomy and diet will move towards healthy traditional foods. Restaurants and hotels will serve cuisines based on local raw materials. Food production will move from traditional agricultural practices to novel food production practices (aquaponics, precision irrigation, cultured meat, etc). It is envisioned that, the supply chain will be shortened through automation and ICT technologies. Artificial intelligence will inform most of the city operations from housing, food, transport, among others. Clean energy systems will serve most city operations. The place will be the envy for many to live.

The people in the city will enjoy better livelihoods due to improved economies and infrastructural development. The burden on health as a result of Non Communicable Diseases will reduce leading to a happier city. People will be more nutrition conscious and will demand for targeted services suited to their lifestyles. The level of knowledge on food systems will improve while attitude and practices that hinder consumption of certain foods will wane out. Nairobians will adopt technologies that promote better health and convenience. It is anticipated that cultural barriers to food consumption that relate to ethnicity will be overcome, Nairobians will boast of Nairobi culture. There will be equity on all aspects among the population.

This will require good governance targeting empowering Nairobians. The rule of the law will be vested on constitutional reforms and working policies. A culture of collaboration among diverse partners will be a critical driver towards sustaining Nairobi and its people.

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

By 2050 the urban residents of Nairobi City will be served by a food system characterized by: (a) an efficient, diversified and sustainable food production system, (b) intelligent distribution interface, (c) smart food processing and preparation options, and (d) personalized food service and diets.

1. Smart Food Production Systems

The Nairobi food production system by 2050 will integrate both conventional and emerging food production technologies in both urban and peri-urban areas. The production system will be characterized by:

a) Consolidation of Small-Scale Producers at Peri urban areas – small scale farmers from peri-urban Nairobi will produce a diverse range of nutritious and safe food products using improved technologies. Conventional food production systems will still exist but will require smart interventions (institutional or technological) for them to be economical.  To make it attractive, small scale farmers will require incentives to adopt sustainable operation methods (precision irrigation, controlled plant nutrition, pesticide and herbicide free production technologies, quarantine systems etc). What will be more attractive is the consolidation of small-scale farmers’ efforts to serve communities, pooling resources to create the required scale of production. It is foreseen that small-scale farms will specialize in perennial crops of high value. Already, field trials for perennial cereals is being piloted in the US. Consequently, evolution in breeding and biotechnology (biofortification, targeted manipulation of yields, pest and disease resistance) will play a significant role in improving food and nutrition security.

b) Indoor Food Production – since land will increasingly become limited with the growing human population, acceleration toward expansion of food production in buildings will increase. This will include vertical gardening, increase in greenhouses, aquaponics, aeroponics, hydroponics, soil less farming among other farming operations that requires little utilization of land space. It is anticipated that vertical gardening will comprise of specialized high storeys, one each for vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, aquaponics, cultured meat, office space, parking, among others.

This will increase production volume per unit area. Cultured meat with the right texture, mouthfeel and taste will have become the new norm and this will dramatically reduce the carbon foot print of keeping beef animals. Meat analogues from vegetables will increasingly be available. To reduce the negative impact of distance on food prices, the vertical gardens will be strategically located in different parts of Nairobi to cater for the entire population. It is proposed that one such facility will be in each of the following zones; Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern and Central parts of Nairobi, with a possibility of being replicated elsewhere based on population density. Each facility will produce a diverse range of food products that are nutritious, safe, affordable, culturally acceptable and environmentally friendly. The vertical garden will be powered by solar energy.

c) Aquaculture and Blue Economy exploitation – intensification of aquaculture and sea food production will be critical for increasing the supply of fish and sea foods. This will be coupled by increased exploitation of the blue economy (Coastal region of Kenya). The demand for these kinds of foods will have increased due to globalization and better education. Such practices will lower the demand for land for animal production while giving room for more field crops (cereals).

2. Intelligent Food Distribution InterfaceBy 2050, the transport and distribution channel for foods will have greatly transformed from traditional to novel, technologically driven approaches. The current open-air market systems will reduce and be replaced by tailored service delivery to customers. This will be characterized by:

a) Exploitation of digital technologies: Harnessing the power of digital technologies particularly smart phones will usher a new dawn of communication, transport and distribution. People will easily order their foods using smart phones in the amounts and varieties they desire. To make the right choices, buzz words like low fat, low carbohydrate, sugar free, gluten free, cholesterol free etc. will often be used. 

b) Food Profile Scans: To address the demand for nutritious food products, the nutritional composition of each of the foods will be documented. This will require development and employment of non-invasive analytical techniques like Fourier Transfer Near Infra-Red (FT-NIR) to quickly scan the nutrient content of the foods. Information on potential allergens and other toxicants will be fingerprinted. In addition, it will be possible to trace the source of the food. This information will be stored through cloud computing interfaces for use for personalized diets.

c) Artificial Intelligence: Personalized nutrition will have become more important; thus the ability to accurately track every calorie and nutrient that enters our body through a portable or ingestible sensor will become the norm. This data combined with nutrigenomics and individual microbiome will be used determine individual plate portions and their content. Consequently, food waste will become a thing of the past. Clients will get value for money through ordering the quantity and quality of the foods they would want. With this capability for detailed diet tracking, we will move away from one-size-fits-all under­standings of nutrition toward a more personalized approach.

In conclusion, it is foreseen that current food delivery channels will be replaced by smart distribution systems. Much shorter and more efficient producer consumer linkages will emerge. Brokers in the food system will become a thing of the past thus making food more affordable and safer. 

Some of the technologies that will transform distribution will include:

Automated Vehicle Machines (AVM): we will see widespread use of intelligent unmanned vehicles that will use GIS information to deliver food packages to points of order depending on customer’s needs. The AVM will either be manned from the farm or by a secondary agent hired by the producer. Customers will most likely use smart phone applications to request for their orders and for payment.

Drones: an alternative to AVMs will be use of drones for targeted food delivery. The customer will have the luxury to state the food choice, location for delivery, and the anticipated time of delivery.

3) Smart food processing, preparation and cooking options

Food processing and cooking will evolve to integrate convenience, safety, personalized menus and tailored serving. While conventional food processing technologies will not become extinct, innovations that will target nutrient retention, individualized diet/plate, and customer satisfaction will become more common. This will happen in households and restaurants. Some unique innovations that will hit the domestic and commercial sector will include:
a) Use of Intelligent kitchens – by combining information from personal microbiome, nutrigenomics and nutritional maps of different foods, and by application of algorithms that exploit cloud computing, it will be possible to process or cook any food as per the client’s request. Options for making the food tasty, nutritious, and of the right mouthfeel will be available with a click. The intelligent kitchen will be able to serve different types of foods to persons with different nutritional requirements (children, pregnant women, men) at real time. Households will enjoy more convenience while getting specialized menus

b) Exploitation of 3-D food printers – public institutions (schools, hospitals, prisons) and Hotels, restaurants and cafeteria (HORECA) will opt for 3-D printing of foods. These gadgets will revolutionize the hotel industry. At present, the technology is being piloted with a possibility of becoming available at commercial level in the next decade. Installation of 3-D food printer ATMs in shopping malls will become the new revelation.

4) Personalized food kits: every individual irrespective of gender and age will have access to the quantity and quality of food they will demand for. This will be informed by personal nutritional needs (nutrigenomincs and microbiome) and the available food ingredients. There will be reduced food loss, waste and contamination due to use of intelligent food processing technologies. Each plate, for example, will need to be characterized by lower amounts of starch, increased volume of fruits and vegetables, increased legume utilization, more dairy products, lower amount of fats, reduced sugar and salt usage. According to the FAO food plate (FAO 2011) cereals currently account for 47% of the total plate, oil and fats 11%, sugar 16%, fruits and vegetables 11%, and meat, fish and eggs (11%) (Fraser and Guelph 2015). However, this will have to be adjusted to resonate with the Health Eating Plate model in which fruits and vegetables will account for the lion’s share of the total plate while cereals and fats reduce.

Conclusion
By 2050, people will eat food because they like it. While culture, diet, economics, and environment will be important, science, technology and innovation will be pivotal in driving food production systems, the related delivery systems and food choices. Artificial Intelligence will form the basic hallmark for food choices and preparations. It is foreseen that Nairobi will require developing and implementing enabling policies and guidelines to accelerate attainment of food and nutrition security for better health. It is in this respect that JKUAT will work with Nairobi County, KEBS, Government ministries (e.g. Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Industrialization, Trade, Environment etc.) industry actors, NGOs, development partners among other stakeholders, to make this vision a reality.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website
  • Conference/event
  • Prize partners
  • Presentation form Rockerfeller Team in Kenya, AGRA Meeting in Ghana (2019)

Describe how your Vision developed over the course of the Refinement Phase.

The evolution of the vision during the refinement period included:

  • Review of the initial proposal – this entailed collective proof reading of the earlier proposal to check content, grammar and alignment to the refinement guidelines. Areas of weakness and strengths were identified and subjected to revision
  • Attending virtual webinars - we attended the webinars organized by the refinement team and the information obtained was used for refinement
  • Response to new prompts from the refinement team- new sections were added (governance, resource mobilization, monitoring) to the proposal to make it more realistic and resilient
  • Stakeholder engagement –a scan on the initial stakeholder list led to identification and engagement of others. Co-creation of ideas including definition of roles and responsibilities was done
  • Finalization and publishing – after revising the proposal with the input of the various stakeholders, the lead team proof read the final draft before submission.

Please provide the names of all organizations you meaningfully partnered with to develop this latest version of your Vision (they contributed at least 10 hours of time to the Vision development during the Refinement Phase).

The Nairobi Food System Visionaries include:

  • JKUAT – lead applicant responsible for research
  • County Government of Nairobi – Regional Government with mandate to design and implement food policies in Nairobi
  • Kenya Association of Manufacturers – umbrella body of manufacturers including food processor that lobbies for ease of doing business
  • Kenya Private Sector Alliance –brings together business community to influence public policy
  • Media – for outreach, advocacy and behavior change communication
  • Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition - International NGO focusing on improving food and nutritional systems through the market-place
  • Wakulima Market Self Help Group – a group of retailers based on Wakulima market (largest fresh produce market) in Nairobi
  • Government Ministries (Agriculture, Health and Trade) – for mainstreaming the vision into government planning and budgeting
  • The Consumers Federation of Kenya - apex non-profit Federation committed to consumer protection

Describe the specific steps you took during the Refinement phase to include different stakeholders to develop your Vision, including a description (age, profile, and total number) of the stakeholders engaged, and how you engaged with each.

The specific steps undertaken to include the stakeholders were:

  • Review of the proposal – this was to identify the main pillars of the proposal and match each of the elements with partner(s) with ability to deliver or enable it
  • Identification of stakeholder – this was based on the potential role and the sphere of control and influence in food systems
  • Stakeholder engagement – the identified stakeholder were walked through proposal including a questions and answers sections. Members were asked to voluntarily commit to be part of the applying consortium
  • Co-creation of ideas – willing members participated in a brain storming session to co-create ideas for strengthening the proposal. This provided ownership while leading to redefining some of the approaches.


The specific stakeholder engaged (face to face, virtually) and their descriptions is included in below. The team also spoke to a group of farmers in peri-urban Nairobi and traders at Wakulima market. Details can be given.

  • Daniel  Sila (M, 47), JKUAT, Leadership, Food Technology matters
  • Robert Mbeche (M, 44), JKUAT, Agribusiness and markets
  • Josiah Ateka (M, 46), Agricultural& food economics
  • John Mwai (M, 38, Ministry of Health, Nutrition policies
  • Brendah Oburah, Ministry of Health (F, 45), Food safety issues
  • Peter Mutua (M, 42), Kenya Bureau of Standards, Food standards & regulation
  • Sammy Kamwaro (M, 47), Nairobi County, policy direction
  • Nancy Nduta (F, 38), Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Link to private sector
  • Forah Obebo (M, 37), Food Supplier, Sourcing and distribution of food
  • Samuel Gitau (M, 42), Wakulima Self Help Group, Small scale traders issues
  • Felistus Mutambi (F, 52), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Nutrition in the market place
  • Agnes Inea, (F, 32), East African Standard, Media Communication


The shared decision hub (Figure 1) was used to inform revisions and content build up. The interaction among the various stakeholders within the vision is indicated (Figure 2).

What signals and trends did you draw from to inform your Vision? Please provide data or examples that back up each signal or trend.

The signals and trends informing the vision are outlined below:

1.Environment 

Signals and trends in 2020

  • Climate change impacts, degradation of ecosystems [1] and high (30%) food waste [2]
  • Increased awareness on role of environment in sustainable development
  • Emergence of regenerative practices (decomposing solid food waste [3]; smart agriculture and distribution [ 4,5,6]

Possibilities by 2050: Widespread use of smart technologies and practices; a circular food economy with enhanced resilience

   

2. Diets 

Signals and trends in 2020

  • Rising population in Nairobi; 60% by 2050 [7]
  • Rapid changes in diet and physical activity patterns
  • High prevalence of malnutrition (47.8% of population in Nairobi is obese [8] and rise in NCDs)
  • Increased awareness on health; food fortification, use of alternative proteins (edible insects, cultured meats) [8]

Possibilities by 2050: A future in which everyone has access to healthy, affordable and tasty food characterized by smart personalized diets

 

3. Technology

Signals and trends in 2020

  • Increase in digitalization (90% of adults use mobile phones) [9] 
  • Rising influence of social media on food choices
  • Advances in biotechnology (e.g. genome engineering) and ICTs (data analytics, sensor techniques, and automation)

Possibilities by 2050: Widespread access to personalized food choices (e.g. AI, 3D printing, robotics) efficient supply chains and non-conventional food technologies (cultured meat, soil-less farming, genomics)

 4. Policy 

Signals and trends in 2020

  • Food policy largely rural and production centred 
  • Weak food system governance framework (multiple actors with conflicting roles)

Possibilities by 2050: An inclusive and collaborative governance framework for Nairobi’s food system

5. Housing

Signals and trends in 2020

  • Increased housing shortage (200,000 units/year) and urban sprawl [10]
  • Urban physical planning not compatible with sustainable food system
  • Prioritization of housing in policy in new policies (big 4 agenda)

Possibilities by 2050: Smart city housing compatible with food production and efficient food distribution

6. Culture 

Signals and trends in 2020

  • Changing demographics; preference towards western diets low in fiber and micronutrients
  •  growing interest in foods perceived as traditional and homemade

Possibilities by 2050: A food system that Supports and maintains historic food knowledge and recipes while fostering inclusivity and meet societal expectations

 7. Transport 

Signals and trends in 2020

  • Lengthening food chains [11] globalization and growth of supermarket chains

Possibilities by 2050: Short supply chains involving few intermediaries and use of ICTs to create more efficient and sustainable logistics

 8. Work 

Signals and trends in 2020

Demographic transition, migration into cities, high levels of unemployment (10% in Kenya), informal low paying jobs in food sector [12]

Possibilities by 2050: food system that is a source of large number of inclusive high-quality jobs [13] 

Describe a “Day in the Life” of a key food system actor within your food system in 2050 (e.g., farmer, chef, supply chain actor, food policy actor, etc.).

Day in the Life of a food trader in 2050

I live in Nairobi, a city of 7 million people.   I am a food trader supplying food to over 500,000 city residents daily.    The first thing I do when I get out of bed is to send my daily health and nutrition profile to my smart kitchen to allow it to fix my personalized breakfast. The information is generated using AI based personal monitor which also prescribes my daily exercise.

For breakfast, I take a specially formulated porridge made by combining a couple of locally produced cereals, plant proteins and juice. The challenges I have been facing is lack of not enough ‘traditional’ cereals available to meet the growing demand. My hopes for the day is to serve all my 0.5 million customers and meet their expectations. My customers make personalized orders which means we have to rely on big data to give us ideas on what orders we make from our producers.

I get to work by tram which takes me about 10 minutes. I operate from a large food industrial park but I can also work from home because I have access to the digital food trading platform.

At work, I manage a team of 200 staff skilled in different areas ranging from logistics to AI. Our customers make online personalized orders which we mainly supply through our fleet of automated vehicle machines.  Some of the food packages are picked by our customers via a drive through system. We analyze data on previous purchases to tell us what to order online from organised producer groups in the city, cultured meat labs and organised producer groups in the peri-urban areas. This has reduced waste significantly.

For lunch, I order my personalized meal on my phone or get it printed via a 3D printer in the canteen. On my way home, I pass an event bringing together food traders to discuss how to increase efficiency of the system. 

 Before I go to bed I think about how we can serve our customers better and it makes me feel good to know that so many people are getting their food through us.

Environment | How will your food system of 2050 adapt to climate change and remain resilient?

In order to protect and regenerate the environment while responding to climate change and being resilient, the following interventions will be prioritized;

(a) Promote sustainable intensification

In light of the rising demand on land resource, and to address unsustainable demands on the available land and other natural resources, sustainable intensification of agricultural sectors will be promoted. This will potentially lower the demands on land while sustaining the environment. In order to achieve sustainable intensification of food production, our vision will;

  • Promote widespread use of smart production, distribution and consumption practices including a circular economy that enhances ecosystem resilience. This would employ new environmentally friendly food production and storage practices e.g. use of bio-pesticides and Integrated Pest Management strategies (IPM).
  • Promote use a combination of information technologies (e.g. data analytics, improved sensor techniques and the use of drones for data gathering) to enhance efficiency in food production e.g early warning signals for planting, disease and pest diagnostic kits, precision irrigation etc
  • Use of modern biotechnological approaches and conventional breeding for pest and disease resistance, drought tolerance, increasing productivity, among others
  • Smart water management practices for increasing the efficiency of water use: This will include precision irrigation technologies,  provision of economic incentives for water saving technologies (such as toilet replacement programs and efficient toilet rebates), safe water reuse and recycling (4Rs – Reduce, Remove, Reuse, and Recycle) and dissemination of appropriate sanitation technology (e.g. construction of ecological toilets, bio digesters, bio-filter)
  • Development of organic food markets by creating the relevant infrastructure, supporting policies and coordination arrangements


(b) Preventing further degradation of ecosystems

  • The current signals and trends point to productivity losses due to ecosystem degradation. The vision will promote efforts to rehabilitate degraded land while limiting degradation. This will be through: Developing policies and providing incentives for restoration of key ecosystems (land, air and water) including use of regenerative practices (e.g. decomposing solid food waste).
  • Harmonizing sectoral laws and regulations on protection and conservation of the environment
  • Control and regulation of pollutants from food production to consumption
  • Promoting widespread awareness on linkages between health, environment and sustainable development. Mass and social media will be leveraged to enhance reach and impact. 


(c) Adoption of circular and bio economy practices

In view of the fact that the food sector generates a lot of waste that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, the vision will promote integrated utilization of resources through a circular economy. This will be through:

  • Scaling up use of organic fertilizers: development of marketable fertilizers for animal manure and sludge, application of stabilization processes to reduce emissions from organic waste, adoption of monitoring protocols and innovative waste treatment plants
  • Developing policies and incentives that target reduction of food waste
  •  Supporting the development of food market infrastructure for ease of access to safe and nutritious food. The reliance on open air and informal wet food markets (currently characterized by dilapidated infrastructure and lack of water and basic sanitation) will be gradually phased out and replaced by digital enabled systems.


(d) Encourage investments in sustainable technologies

To ensure that sufficient land and water resources are available to meet total demand for food provision, the vision will put in place mechanisms for increased investment in research and development on sustainable technologies/practices, infrastructure and human capital. This will be achieved through;

  • Targeted human capital development and research on sustainable food systems
  • Creating an enabling environment for the “next production revolution” which will occur due to a confluence of technologies ranging from digital ICTs (e.g. 3D printing, the Internet of Things – IoT, advanced robotics) and new materials (e.g. bio- or nano-based) to new processes (e.g. data-driven production, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology).

Diets | How will your food system of 2050 address malnutrition in all its forms (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency, metabolic disease) for the people living there?

The vision will promote increased production, processing, distribution and consumption of nutritious foods while promoting local diets that are nutritionally rich. Malnutrition of all forms will be addressed through:

(a) Increased access and consumption of a diverse range of nutritious foods

  • Nutrition sensitive agricultural practices that combine improved conventional approaches and innovative non-conventional food production systems (hydroponics, aeroponics, vertical gardening) will be promoted.  Such technologies will be applied in the peri-urban areas as well as in selected zones within the city to increase availability and accessibility of nutritious foods.
  • Use of biotechnology and tissue culture for improved seeds: biofortification for key nutrients improvement and targeted traits improvement (increased yields, disease and pest resistance, drought  resilience, etc)
  • Integration of aquaculture in farming systems to increase diversity of foods. Enacting policies that support aquaculture, roof-top agriculture, and soil less farming, among others. In each case, circular economies will be included in the initial designs.
  • Promoting opportunities for noncommercial local food production such as community gardens, nonprofit educational urban farms and promotion of easy to grow protective foods such fruits and vegetable.
  • Promoting increased production of cultured meat to reduce the impact of animal production on the climate. Using modern technologies, the safety, nutritional quality and the taste of the cultured meat will need to be improved to match conventional types
  • Supporting the production, processing, marketing and consumption of neglected and underutilized species (NUS) that are nutritious. NUS, are known to be rich in minerals and vitamins and perform well under extreme weather conditions. The promotion of these underutilized species would enhance availability of food and promote resilience
  • Promoting low-resource alternative sources of proteins to fill the nutrient gaps. This will include farmed fish, mollusks, insects and protein-rich plant foods at the expense of muscle and organ meats from livestock


(b) Managing consumer demand and awareness 

  • Increasing demand for healthy foods through nutrition education and marketing of healthy foods. In addition, the vision will promote consumption of a diverse range of nutritious and safe foods, that are accessible and affordable, and that resonate with social and cultural traditions
  • Supporting integration of nutrition education, gardening and sustainable food systems in the school curriculum.
  • Promoting use of technologies such as artificial intelligence and smart food processing (3-D food printing, instant nutrient scans) to support a revolution in personalized diets
  • Promoting consumption of nutritionally proven ‘traditional’ foods that are key to addressing malnutrition


(c) Addressing unequal distribution of food 

  • Promoting decentralized food supply chains that are inclusive to small producers and which allow supply of affordable food
  • Promoting the development and application of smart distribution systems which reduce costs and cut on waste (including use of AI, drones and 3-D printing of food)
  • Putting in place targeted and efficient strategies to raise poor people’s food purchasing power
  • Putting in place comprehensive programmes and coherent public policies that address both the supply and demand sides of food, as well as the food environment where consumers engage with a food system to make their food-related decisions
  • Promoting “nutrition-sensitive” policies, programmes and investments which means nutrition must be mainstreamed across sectoral policies
  • Investing in transport and cold-chain infrastructure to reduce food loss.
  • Promoting balancing of food prices through better forecasting (using satellite weather information


(d) Smart food processing and preparation

  • Inclusion of emerging food processing technologies (high pressure, ohmic heating, and pulse electric field) that have low impact on food nutritionally quality while ensuring food safety will be explored. 
  • Testing and validation of such concept at commercial level will be necessary (fresher foods). 
  • In some cases, intelligent mass fortification of foods will be encourage: enrichment of foods with micronutrients of public health concerns. This requires mandatory legislation for industries to produce such foods and mass education for consumers to demand for fortified foods.

(e) Linking nutrigenomics and nutraceuticals: in case of severe cases of malnutrition, supplement foods will be developed to address the specific problems (supplementation)

Economics | Where and what will the jobs be that support living wages in your future food system of 2050, and how will these jobs impact gender equality?

The vision will strengthen the food system’s contribution to jobs creation by supporting growth in food value chains, ensuring that policies and investments improve the quality and quantity of jobs, and facilitating the inclusion of more women and youth. Specifically, the vision will focus on;

(a) Jobs in the Nairobi future food system of 2050

(i) Growth in quality, diversity of on-farm and off farm jobs in peri-urban areas 

  • Promoting use of smart production technologies including precision agriculture, vertical gardening, aquaculture, hydroponics and aeroponics will attract young skilled workers.
  • The smart technologies will improve productivity, raise farm incomes and boost demand for non-farm goods and services. As a result, there will be increased prospects for output growth and employment generation in the associated enterprises much of which are food-system-related.
  • Increasing mechanization and automation are expected to increase productivity and scale of production in ways that would increase the quality of jobs on farm. These jobs are likely to be filled by young highly skilled professionals.
  • Diversified production systems would lead to continuous labour demand throughout the year thus reducing unemployment and raising overall labour productivity.


(ii) Strengthening post-harvest handling and processing practices

  • Technologies that will lead to reduction of post-harvest losses during transport, processing and distribution of foods will be enhanced. This includes installation of infrastructure for extending shelf life stability of perishables (cold chain) as well as optimized food processing technologies to ensure nutrient retention, avoid seasonality, and enhance value. Each of these will help support job creation for all gender and social classes in addition to enhancing profitability of businesses in the food system.
  • The vision will support the growth of the circular economy where food waste will be converted to generate energy, organic fertilizers and other useful products. This will create jobs in the circular and bio economy industries. This high paying jobs are expected to be taken up by young skilled people of both genders


(iii) Smart food transport and distribution interface

  • A smart food distribution interface is envisaged to create a revolution in transport and logistics and retailing. This will make the food system more efficient while creating more quality jobs. The low paying jobs will gradually be phased out
  • The vision will promote increased utilization of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and mobile phones to connect farmers to markets, reducing transaction costs, and raising food system efficiencies and inclusion
  • Strengthening off-farm food management practices and service delivery: new food management services and transformation beyond the farm will create new enterprises and more jobs
  • Supporting establishment of a predictable and friendly business investment climate. This will be a key component for creating new jobs. It will lead to growth in small, medium and large enterprises thus creating jobs along the entire food system


(iv) Intelligent food service industry

  • A smart food industry is envisaged utilizing AI based systems and nutrigenomics to supply personalized diets. This will create high quality jobs in ICTs, 3D food printing and the way food is consumed in restaurants, cafeterias, hotels and different eating places.
  •  The food service training industry will be revolutionized by the transformation in the food system of 2050. Youth of all gender will receive service training integrating many disciplines from nutrition, technology application and culture. The trainees across gender would then be able to take up the many diverse jobs that would be available across the food service industry


b) Strengthening gender equality and inclusion of marginalized groups 

  • Gender system food system training will be conducted to allow women, youth and disadvantaged groups to take up emerging jobs or create new enterprises
  • Well-educated youth and women trained in business development and vocational skills are likely to benefit from the increasing knowledge intensity of the food system, with significant opportunities in high-value agriculture and associated agro-processing and value addition
  • Food business incubation centres will be established and strategically located to support food business startups. The support will prioritize businesses owned by women and youth to enhance their chances of survival and also create added value in terms of salaries to workers and a return on assets (profits) to entrepreneurs and asset owners

Culture | How will your 2050 food system ensure that the cultural, spiritual and community traditions and/or practices in your Place flourish?

The vision will promote profound changes in the culture of the food system by supporting behaviour change against unsustainable practices and promoting historical sustainable production and consumption practices. In particular, it seeks to change the culture in favour of supporting traditional and novel nutritious foods that can locally be produced. 

(a) Interventions to supports and actively maintains historic food system knowledge and recipes 

  • Promoting horizontal exchanges of knowledge (farmer-to-farmer, consumer-producer, etc) within and between different generations, sectors, cultures and traditions, as social processes resulting in continuous co-creation and reproduction of historical food knowledge. The vision will learn from a growing number of agroecology schools that have been set up and run by peasant organizations to set up cultural food knowledge learning environments.
  • Supporting the documentation and dissemination of diverse and complementary in-depth knowledge available within Kenyan communities on local production and consumption systems. The food system will document cultures at traditional Weddings, funerals, and religious celebrations which are important events that are always accompanied by food specifically prepared for the occasion. The other cultural practices that our vision will document and promote are cultural activities of social networks for food sharing (this allowed that everyone had access to food) and traditional food preservation and storage practices (thus minimising waste).
  • The food system will support the development of a system similar to the Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) programme, launched as an initiative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2002. This system will provide recognition to important traditional agricultural systems (including forestry and fisheries) which conserve agrobiodiversity, indigenous knowledge, culture heritage and agricultural landscapes. The Nairobi food system will document and conserve certain cultural aspects of the food system


(b) Behaviour change communication 

  • Developing and deploying culturally sensitive public messaging campaigns to promote standard information about nutrition and affordable healthy eating. Various dissemination options including mass media and social media will be prioritized. This will also include multilingual maps, signs and marketing tools, including community signage, for healthy food retail options
  • Promoting food fairs and competitions (culture days) as a mechanism of transferring the food cultural knowledge to the younger populations but also sustaining the culture. Through the cultural food fairs, a culture of consuming traditional foods will be spread and sustained. This cultural food fairs will support greater involvement of women and youth in the food system


(c) Role of women and youth 

  • The vision will emphasizes the need for policymakers, community leaders, and elders to value the work of women and youth, not only as farmers and food producers but as nutritional gatekeepers, caretakers of rich agricultural traditions, and stewards of the land and biodiversity. Gender inequalities will be addressed by creating opportunities for women who make up most of the workforce in food production, distribution and preparation. Women and youth will be supported to participate in producer groups and food markets which would allow them to become more autonomous and empower them at household, community levels and beyond
  • The vision will change the persistent discourse which leaves women shouldering an unreasonable share of responsibility as caretakers of not only the household (including food) but also farms and landscapes.


(d) Ethical issues on sustainable food system

  • The vision recognizes that food choices are often intertwined in our beliefs and values, our relationship to where the food comes from, and our larger connection with an increasingly globalized world. Yet, these food choices may lead to obesity or even food waste. So, a key ethical issue this vision seeks to address is how to change the culture of individual choices which have negative health consequences
  • Inequalities of food access in a world where there is more food produced than is needed is unethical. The vision seeks to address individual, collective and system wide responsibilities and accountabilities towards making food available to all
  • Introducing alternative proteins such as molluscs, insects etc. which are inconsistent to people’s cultures and beliefs raises ethical issues. The vision proposes behavior change communication approaches on how to resolve food taboos around more sustainable food consumption habits

Technology | What technological advances are needed to transform your food system into one that meets your goals and embodies the values of your Vision in 2050?

The following interventions will be prioritized along the food chain to transform the food system;

(a) Smart Food Production Systems

The food production system by 2050 will integrate both conventional and emerging food production technologies in both urban and peri-urban areas.

  • Consolidation of Small-Scale Producers at Peri urban areas – small scale farmers from peri-urban Nairobi will produce a diverse range of nutritious and safe food products using improved technologies. Conventional food production systems will still exist but will require smart interventions for them to be economical. 
  • The Biotechnology and perennial cereals:  This will also be encouraged (field trials for perennial cereals is being piloted in the US). Consequently, evolution in breeding and biotechnology (e.g biofortification, pest and disease resistance) will play a significant role in improving food and nutrition security.
  • Indoor Food Production – since land is limited with the growing, acceleration toward expansion of food production in buildings will increase. This will include vertical gardening, increase in greenhouses, aquaponics, aeroponics, hydroponics, soil less farming among other farming operations that requires little utilization of land space


(b)  Intelligent Food Distribution Interface

The current open-air market systems will reduce and be replaced by tailored service delivery to customers. This will be characterized by:

  • Exploitation of digital technologies: Harnessing the power of digital technologies particularly smart phones will usher a new dawn of communication, transport and distribution. People will easily order their foods using smart phones in the amounts and varieties they desire. To make the right choices, buzz words like low fat, sugar free etc. will be used. 
  • Food Profile Scans: To address the demand for nutritious food products, the nutritional composition of each of the foods will be documented. This will require development and employment of non-invasive analytical techniques like Fourier Transfer Near Infra-Red (FT-NIR) to quickly scan the nutrient content of the foods. Information on potential allergens and other toxicants will be fingerprinted. This information will be stored through cloud computing interfaces for use for personalized diets.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Personalized nutrition will have become more important; thus, the ability to accurately track every calorie and nutrient that enters our body through a portable or ingestible sensor will become the norm. This data combined with nutrigenomics and individual microbiome will be used determine individual plate portions and their content. With this capability for detailed diet tracking, we will move away from one-size-fits-all under­standings of nutrition toward a more personalized approach.
  • Automated Vehicle Machines (AVM): we will see widespread use of intelligent unmanned vehicles that will use GIS information to deliver food packages to points of order depending on customer’s needs. Customers will most likely use smart phone applications to request for their orders and for payment.
  • Drones: an alternative to AVMs will be use of drones for targeted food delivery. The customer will have the luxury to state the food choice, location for delivery, and the anticipated time of delivery.


(c) Smart food processing, preparation and cooking options

Food processing and cooking will evolve to integrate convenience, safety, personalized menus and tailored serving. The innovations that will target nutrient retention include:

  • Use of Intelligent kitchens – by combining information from personal microbiome, nutrigenomics and nutritional maps of different foods, and by application of algorithms that exploit cloud computing, it will be possible to process or cook any food as per the client’s request. The intelligent kitchen will be able to serve different types of foods to persons with different nutritional requirements (children, pregnant women, men) at real time.
  • Exploitation of 3-D food printers – public institutions (schools, hospitals, prisons) and Hotels, restaurants and cafeteria (HORECA) will opt for 3-D printing of foods. These gadgets will revolutionize the hotel industry. At present, the technology is being piloted with a possibility of becoming available at commercial level in the next decade.
  • Personalized food kits: every individual will have access to the quantity and quality of food they will demand for. This will be informed by personal nutritional needs (nutrigenomics and microbiome) and the available food ingredients. There will lead to reduced food loss, waste and contamination.


(d) Promote Research and Development (R&D) across the food system  

  • Supporting applied research to develop, test and scale up promising food system innovations.
  • Ensuring that innovation is embedded within local socio-ecological structures and practices and are amenable to end users’ skills and capacities

Policy | What types of policies are needed to enable your future food system?

Considering the critical role of government and governance, the following policies will be pursued in order to create an enabling environment for equitable access and consumption of safe and nutritious foods;  

(a) Policies to enhance governance and coordination in the food system 

  • Policies to promote greater roles of cities in food provisioning; including a body responsible for overseeing and helping to coordinate, not only the initiatives that comprise the food Vision agenda, but also other decision-making processes around food provisioning.
  • Policies that promote partnerships that enable equity, diversity and solidarity. These partnerships will involve horizontal coordination among public, civic and private sector, as well as vertical supply chain coordination amongst private sector producers and industries. These PPPs will enable knowledge, expertise and financing to be pooled.
  •  Integration of food issues into urban planning. This will require reviewing city regulations to support an integrated food system from production, distribution, processing, consumption and waste management.
  • Policies that promote and adopt a territorial approach and systems perspective that encompasses the complex range of actors and interactions relating to food production, processing, marketing and consumption


(b) Policies to support smart and sustainable production

  • Policy interventions to promote sustainable agricultural intensification are necessary to manage the dual challenge of climate change and productivity growth
  • The vision will support the development of policies and regulations to allow for innovative food production techniques and space utilization models.
  • Policies and investments that support research, development and utilization of for modern smart production technologies will be supported in the food system (biotechnology, vertical gardening, aquaponics, aeroponics, hydroponics, soil less farming among other farming operations that requires little utilization of land space.


(c) Policies to enhance ease of doing food business 

  • Policies to create targeted incentives such as tax holidays to promote access and use of smart technologies including intelligent food distribution, smart food processing and preparation, and cooking options (Intelligent kitchens, 3-D food printers and personalized food kits).
  • Polices to eliminate trade and non-trade barriers affecting uptake of technology
  • Polices to create an enabling environment for the creation and growth of new food business at the different stages of the food chain.


(d) Policies promoting consumption of healthy diets  

  • Policies for enhancing equitable access (physical and economic) for all citizens to healthy and affordable food and reduce hunger and dependency. These measures seek to ensure that city residents can find the food they want close to where they live and that the food is affordable to them. These policies include generating income for urban poor, regulating prices and control of quality for basic staples, inclusion of fruits and vegetables and other protective foods
  • Securing adequate nutrition and public health for people at risk of malnutrition and related health problems. These policies include among others measures to;  supplementation of diets, promoting consumption of a diverse range of foods, mass fortification of common staples
  • Developing regulations to enhance the integration of nutrition education, gardening and sustainable food systems in the school curriculum
  • Strengthening  close partnership between research, government agencies and private sector


(e) Policies that support gender mainstreaming and inclusivity of marginalized groups in food provisioning

  • The food system will support policy initiatives to promote women’s organizations and build capacity to make them self-sustaining and in tackling gender-specific challenges in the food system. This will also include promotion of gender-sensitive value chains that facilitate women’s participation in high value markets. Collaboration with state and civil society organizations will be vital in promoting and empowering women’s producer organizations and self-help groups.
  • Policies and legal frameworks that address income inequality, support livelihoods, and ensure resilience. This will support the development of food systems that are much more efficient, healthy, and inclusive.
  • Policy interventions to create infrastructural public goods and mitigating locational disadvantages in low potential areas will help decrease regional disparity in market access. Increased investment for the expansion of food storage facilities, cold chains, and improved connectivity is also vital to reduce wastage and increase marketing options for food suppliers.

Describe how these 6 Themes connect with and influence one another in your food system.

The vision recognizes that food systems involve a complex set of interactions that work together to influence multiple outcomes, including health, environment and the economy. The inter-connectdness of the themes is given below:

  • The vision recognizes that most of the existing food related policies in Kenya operate in isolation of each other [14 ]. Our vision will therefore support the development of an integrated governance framework (policy) for the food system to create an enabling environment (e.g regulations, incentives, and infrastructure) necessary to guide successful implementation. The vision will leverage on technology, collaboration and social synergy (culture) to promote smart production, efficient distribution systems and consumption to deliver improved diets, health and inclusive economic growth. Efficiencies in the food system will lead to shorter food supply chains, improve profitability of food businesses (economy) and reduce food prices. This will enhance access and consumption of nutritious foods (diets, culture) and therefore reduce the incidence of Non Communicable Diseases. In the long-term efficiencies in the food system will also grow the food economy and create quality jobs (economics).
  • Strong economies support cultural growth including promotion of diets that resonate with a specific region (culture).
  • The vision will give priority to technologies that support environmental sustainability, reduced emissions, restoration of biodiversity and minimize food waste. This will enhance access to a diversity of nutritious, and safe foods (diets and culture) while ensuring that the food system remain regenerative and resilient (environment). The food system will also leverage on technology to promote horizontal exchanges of knowledge (farmer-to-farmer, consumer-producer, etc.) within and between different generations and cultures in continuous co-creation and reproduction of historical food knowledge (culture). The vision will promote local, nutritious diets supported by sound scientific and technological innovations.
  • An economy would be created around nutritious foods, which would directly generate decent jobs and equitably shared economic wealth (Culture and economics). We envision, a private sector, including farmers, entrepreneurs, SMEs and big business that creates jobs and generates wealth equitably shared with the workforce and national and local economies (economy).


Overall, the food systems will leverage on an improved governance structure, collaboration and social synergies to promote the consumption of nutritious diets inclusively. The entire system will be reoriented towards yielding co-benefits across 6 theme (Figure 3). The six (6) themes are considered petals of the same flower that whose stamen (Food System Vision) will lead to fruition by 2050 (Figure 4). It is the combination of the 6 petals that attract pollinators to bear fruit. This interaction will be strengthened.

Describe any trade-offs you may have to make within your system to attain your Vision by 2050.

The following tradeoffs are anticipated during the implementation of the vision;

  • Environment and Diets: Increased agricultural production will invariably contribute to higher greenhouse gas emissions, cause further land and water degradation. Yet, more food will be required to feed the growing population. In order to resolve these conflicts, our vision proposes a smart and sustainable production system that utilizes minimal resources to produce more food. Any food waste generated will then be recycled through circular economy or bio economy models
  • Technology and Economics: The transition to more technologically enhanced food production (e.g. through mechanization and automation) is expected to significantly reduce the low wage on farm jobs that are currently in place in favour of fewer high skilled jobs. However, our vision recognises that these efficiencies are necessary to increase productivity. In the long run, efficiencies brought about by improved technologies would widen the scale of the rural non-farm economy and therefore deliver more well-paying jobs
  • Diets and Economics: The transition into nutritious diets such as the consumption of less refined foods with less carbohydrates/sugars will lead to loss of economic benefits for businesses and households and individuals. Therefore, while this can benefit health goals, it doesn’t benefit economic objectives, such as jobs and growth.
  • Culture and Environment: We expect experience significant tradeoffs in consumption of meat. Producing animals is associated with greenhouse gas emissions, and eating excess meat also has adverse health implications. Yet, at the same time, meat is a key export product and holds important Cultural significance as an aspirational food. However, there are trends and signals indication acceptance of plant based proteins and other non-traditional foods. Our vision will seek to create a healthy balance between consumption of animal, plant and alternative proteins to address these trade offs
  • Culture and diets: There are tensions between cultural beliefs and diets. Some diets may be perfectly culturally acceptable, yet unhealthy and unsustainable. In case of tensions, the vision proposes behaviour change communication to address these trade-offs and help enhance acceptance of nutritional diets


Overall our vision aspires to reorient the entire system towards converting potential conflicts between multiple goals into connections that yield co-benefits. However, if there are tensions between, themes, then a greater focus should be given to the institutional environment. Policies provide an enabling environment for economic growth and environment protection while preserving cultural heritage and in the end enable access to nutritious diets. If there are tensions between economy and environment, environment will be given priority. This is because short term economic gains will be lost if the integrity of the environment will not be protected.

3 Years | Describe 3 key milestones that you would need to achieve within the next three years for your Vision to be on track?

The three most important milestones that need to be in place in the next 3 years include:

  • Establishment of an active stakeholder platform – within the first year, a multi-stakeholder platform, comprising of key visionaries, will be established from the relevant institutions organization. Clear governance and operation guidelines and procedures will be developed by the end of year 1 and improved in the subsequent years. An annual calendar of events will be established including identification of steering committee members. 
  • Creation of enabling environment (Policies ad Strategies) – the right policy frameworks will need to be identified or developed to guide the food vision system. This will start with a scoping exercise to identify the existing policies at national and devolved government level. Revisions to integrate enabling legal frameworks to guide-urban farming will be necessary. This will require advocacy or lobbying with the relevant government organs and other relevant stakeholders. Once the policies are in place, a strategy to guide the Nairobi Food Vision 2050 will be developed, aligned to Vision 2030 and the Big 4 Agenda of the current government. Each year, the multi-stakeholder platform will review progress (annual monitoring and evaluation)
  • Validation and proof of concept for existing and new technologies – research and technological innovation guided by scientific evidence will be used to test the socio-economic implications of some the existing and new technologies. This will start with identification of technologies with the highest potential to create change (food and nutrition security) while maintaining cultural norms and values. Co creation with communities will be important for continuous improvement and better adoption by societies.

10 Years | What progress will you need to make—by 2030—that would set your Vision up to become a reality by 2050?

Within the first 10 years, the inspiration is to have the following activities:

  • Functional stakeholder platform – it is perceived that the County government of Nairobi and the National government of Kenya will have owned the Nairobi Food Vision 2050 and domesticated in the relevant line ministries. This means that this will be part of annual planning with clear budgets and deliverables. The multistakeholder platform will work jointly with government and other state organs
  • Nairobi Food Vision 2050 Strategic Plan – the Nairobi Food Vision 2050 strategic plan will be in place. Monitoring and evaluation of the first 5 years (2023-2027) will be done to inform the relevant changes and resources required to bring the desired change.
  • Behaviour change communication – nutrigenomic and nutrition education will help in improving the Knowledge Attitude and Practice of health diets. Strategies to make this sustainable will be developed including revision of school curricula to include nutrition education.
  • Utilization of ICT and mobile technologies – markets and pricing of commodities will integrate ICT and mobile technologies to reduce lengthy chains and to lower costs. This will revolutionize production and distribution
  • Testing and validation of technologies- production, distribution and food processing technologies innovations that will have the highest potential will be tested and validated at pilot and market level.  Cost-benefit analysis of the key technologies will be available. Most of the conventional technologies will be improved while new ones (blue economy, urban farming concepts) will be tested. Scale-up strategies will be developed to enhance adoption and use.
  • Policy review and modification – existing policies will require revision to accommodate the dynamic changes in the society. This will be in favour of sustainability, resilience, circular economy, environmental protection.

If awarded the $200,000 prize what would you do with it?

If we win the food prize money, the intention is to use it as seed funding for the initial planning. This will cater for the first three years of implementation. The money will be dedicated for:

  • Establishment of a caretaker office – this will initially be domiciled at JKUAT. An office will temporarily be rented from JKUAT for a period of 3 years. The office will be equipped with basic office and furniture
  • Salary for secretariat – an office secretary will be recruited for routine administration and coordination
  • Convening of meetings –regular meetings of stakeholders will be held to develop policy and strategic documents. Transport costs, accommodation and conference package costs will be paid for
  • Development and Publication of Policy and Medium Term Plan – the developed policy documents and strategic plan will be printed for distribution
  • Publicity and advocacy - regular advocacy meetings with government and other stakeholders will be organized. Media communication will be critical
  • Validation and proof of concept for existing and new technologies – some exploratory studies will be carried out to understand the baseline situation. This will be used to inform subsequent interventions. Validation of the low hanging fruits will be done including cost-benefit analysis.
  • Publication of existing /new technologies  - a brief profile of the existing technologies will be documented for users reference

The draft budget is as below:

S.No
Activity description
Total Cost (US$)
1
Establishment of secretariat office
                     27,200.00
2
Personnel payment
                     18,000.00
3
Stakeholder meetings
                     44,640.00
4
Development and publication of policy/strategic plan
                     71,970.00
5
Publicity and advocacy
                     10,500.00
6
Technology profiling and validation
                     20,000.00
7
Publication of technology profiles
                       7,690.00

Total budget
                   200,000.00

If you are chosen as a Top Visionary, The Rockefeller Foundation would like to share your Vision widely with a global audience. What would you like the world to learn from your Vision for 2050?

If selected, Rockefeller Foundation can share the Nairobi Food System Vision with international audience. The following are some of the key elements to communicate.

The Vision is system focused and targets improving nutritional and health outcomes of all Nairobians by 2050. It integrates sound scientific and technological innovation characterized by smart production systems, an intelligent food distribution interface, and state of art food processing and preparation. The vision is a long term strategy led by JKUAT but co-created with stakeholders from government, universities, media, NGOs, private sector, farmer groups, traders, and others. The unique value proposition of the vision is the clear governance and operation structure of the food system and the alignment to the national and devolved government calendars. The implementation plan allows for continuous improvement while identifying opportunities and minimizing risk. The first 3 years (startup period) is aimed for developing policies and strategies. From 2022 onwards, the vision is divided into 3 phases comprising of 5 Medium Term Plans, each for 5 years, in sync with government cycles. Phase 1 is devoted for scouting, testing and validation of food system technological innovations, phase 2 aims at improvement and scale up, while phase 3 is meant for strengthening sustainability. Integration of collaboration, resource mobilization, and monitoring and evaluation makes it inclusive, resilient, feasible and sustainable.

Please share a visual that communicates the structure and operation of your food system in 2050. Describe the visual.

(a) Figure 1: collective decision making

(b) Figure 2: the different stakeholder groups involved and their interactions

 (c) Figure 3: Interactions between various themes and the co-benefits

(d) Figure 4: every element is important to blossom

(e) Figure 5: Governance and operation structure

 (f) Figure 6: The Nairobi Food System Vision for 2050 in a nutshell

(g) Figure 7: the desirable diet plate by 2050

(h) Figure 8:  Nairobi Food System, truly Kenyan

 (i) Table 1: phases of implementations

 


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Team (9)

josiah's profile
josiah mwangi

Role added on team:

"Agricultural Economics, JKUAT"

Daniel Ndaka's profile
Robert's profile
Robert MBECHE

Role added on team:

"Visionary on Agricultural Food Systems and Agribusiness"

Forah 's profile
Forah Obebo

Role added on team:

"Food Supplier in Nairobi"

sammy's profile
sammy kamwaro

Role added on team:

"Nairobi City Council Representative- Policy Issues"

John's profile
John Mwai

Role added on team:

"Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Dietetic Unit"

Felistus 's profile
Felistus Mutambi

Role added on team:

"Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, interested in improving nutrition in the market place. Supports nutrition sensitive businesses as well as food fortification issues"

Peter's profile
Peter Mutua

Role added on team:

"Kenya Bureau of Standards, interested in streamlining standards for foods in the food system. KEBS regulates food products at the market place"

Brendah's profile
Brendah Obura

Role added on team:

"Ministry of Health, Food Safety Unit , interested at regulatory monitoring of foods at the market place. Works a lot with the food industry in strengthening Quality Management Systems to improve food quality and ensure consumer safety."

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Attachments (2)

VID-20200528-WA0009 (6).mp4

The foreseen situation of a trader by 2050

Full Vision 29-5-2020.pdf

The Nairobi Food System Vision 2050- Narrative report combining visual illustrations and explanations

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Spam
Photo of Beatrice  Ndungu
Team

Great Job Guys. This is truly visionary.

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