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Bloc targeted in NGO food security crusade

By John Shilitsa | August 3rd 2018

Veni Swai (Senior Programme Officer for Friedrich Naumann Foundation, East Africa) left, and Leonard Mwasi (ITIC-2018 Programme Manager).Inter Region Economic Network was training 165 trainees from Kenya’s 14 Lake Region Economic Bloc Counties. [PHOTO: BENJAMIN SAKWA/STANDARD]

Young innovators from counties in western Kenya will receive training to help address food insecurity.

Some 165 farmers with unique innovations from each of the 14 counties that form the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) have been selected for the training under the Smart Food Security Solutions programme.

The programme, sponsored by Inter Region Economic Network (Iren) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, will not only empower the trainees with skills and knowledge to fight hunger but also help the region to produce more food.

Iren Director James Shikwati, who was speaking yesterday at the Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu, said the training would focus on helping the counties identify food security technologies and innovations to be used by farmers and enterprises in agribusiness value chains.

“Our target is to assist governors develop manpower by equipping locals with desired farming knowledge and skills,” he told The Standard.

Mr Shikwati said the soon-to-be-launched The IREN Technologies and Innovation Challenge will feature local innovators.

The counties that form LREB are Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kericho, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nandi, Nyamira, Siaya, Trans Nzoia and Vihiga.

They have a population of at least 14 million people, most of whom live in poverty.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who is the bloc's chairman, said LREB intended to enhance food security through coordinated agricultural strategies and sharing of human resources.

Economic growth

The bloc also aspires to create an enabling environment for economic growth and investment, and to establish public-private partnerships in areas such as health, education, environment, water conservation, and climate change, according to Mr Oparanya. The bloc plans to set up a regional bank.

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