IFPRI launches new book that provides roadmap for food systems transformation in Kenya


The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) which provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in developing countries, has today launched a new book that provides a roadmap for food systems transformation in Kenya.

The new book- Food Systems Transformation in Kenya: Lessons from the Past and Policy Options for the Future aims to respond to previous challenges the food system in the country has faced by bringing together a wealth of empirical research on various aspects of Kenya’s food system and offering a comprehensive overview of its historical trajectory and possibilities for future evolution.

According to a statement by IFPRI, the past few years have seen Kenya, along with many other countries, confronted with multifaceted and compounding challenges affecting its food system.

Among them are disruptions caused by COVID-19, high levels of food price inflation and environmental crises such as locust infestations and droughts which have severely tested the resilience of Kenya’s food system and the affordability of food for its citizens.

It is against this backdrop of challenges and ongoing demographic shifts, urbanization, and stagnating agricultural production, that the need for reexamination of the approach to food systems has never been more critical.

“We look forward to the Ministry’s continued collaboration with IFPRI, CGIAR, and other partners in creating research-based policy recommendations that will lead to a brighter, healthier future for all Kenyans,” noted Hon. Mithika Linturi, Cabinet Secretary, Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development in the foreword of the book.

The book, edited by Clemens Breisinger, Michael Keenan, Juneweenex Mbuthia, and Jemimah Njuki was launched today during a hybrid event co-organized by IFPRI, Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and the CGIAR Initiative on National Policies and Strategies at the ILRI Nairobi campus and online.

“The Government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) prioritizes food systems, and this book offers actionable strategies aligned with the national goals. Mobilizing funding for food systems transformation is critical as is strengthening of the science-policy interface to help Kenya meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Despite the important role of the agri-food sector in Kenya’s economy, public expenditure in it remains low, hindering effective policy implementation. We hope that this book will serve as a guiding compass, offering a thorough exploration of the country’s food systems and presenting actionable recommendations to support positive change,” said Clemens Breisinger, the lead editor of the book.

The book provides a comprehensive overview of the Kenya’s food system, focusing on:

  • The current state and drivers of transformation, in particular the country’s livestock sector and projections for its future.
  • The ways to strengthen Kenyan food systems across several vital dimensions, such as promotion of healthier diets and food safety; enhanced productivity with greater intensification of the maize-based farming and more widespread access to agricultural inputs and mechanization; greater resilience through more widespread use of climate insurance and risk-contingent credit; improved livelihoods for women, youth, and smallholder farmers; and enhanced sustainability through postharvest management and digital tools.

Johan Swinnen, Director General of IFPRI and Managing Director, Systems Transformation, CGIAR, highlighted the diversity of the book’s authors. “Researchers from Kenyan universities and research institutes, IFPRI and CGIAR colleagues, international academics, and experts from multilateral institutions came together to write this comprehensive resource for decision-makers in Kenya.”

A free e-version of the book can be downloaded on the IFPRI website; print-on-demand hard copies can be ordered via Amazon.