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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has provided financial and technical support for numerous IIRR projects over the years. IIRR’s focus on food systems, food security, and agriculture is closely aligned with FAO’s stated goal: “to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.”  In recent months, IIRR Kenya has made notable progress in strengthening the unit’s relationship with this invaluable partner to grow capacity and impact in rural communities in Kenya.

IIRR Kenya is now an active member of the East and Central Africa regional food security and nutrition working group (FSNWG). The working group is a regional platform, currently co-chaired by FAO and ICPAC (IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre). The group has two goals: to provide an up-to-date food security and nutrition situation analysis (early warning) and to offer a forum to build consensus on critical issues facing policy and interventions. The FNSWG has served regional governments, donors, and non-governmental agencies since the early 2000s. Current membership includes approximately 80 organizations (IGAD, UN agencies, NGOs, donors, and research institutions) who contribute to the operation of the working group, and its nutrition, markets, food security information, livestock, and pastoralist sub-groups. IIRR Kenya participated in the FSNWG virtual meeting held on March 30, 2023.

Further, on April 4, 2023, IIRR Kenya took part in a consultative forum on livestock feed formulation and distribution that was organized by the FAO. Strategic livestock value chain players from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, SNV, Cereal Growers Association, and the county governments of Taita Taveta, Makueni, and Kajiado were also present at the conference. The conference was a crucial step in the Hand in Hand Initiative’s concept note creation process. The effort aims to identify regions where upgrading the agri-food value chain can boost the food and nutrition security for improved livelihood resilience for small scale farmers. Through this intervention, FAO is assisting the Government of Kenya in locating investment opportunities associated with the distribution of animal feed foundation data and the creation of animal feed business centers for priority feed commodity value chains.