Food and Nutritional Security and Sustainable Livelihoods

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (FAO, 2008). Africa Harvest’s experience is that the issue of Food Security and Sustainable Livelihoods is central to all development intervention.
Food security on the continent has worsened since 1970 and the proportion of the malnourished population has remained within the 33 to 35% range in Sub-Saharan Africa (Mwaniki). Food security in the region has also been exacerbated by the impact of the high prevalence rate of HIV and AIDS in the farming communities. The impact of HIV and AIDS in the communities is two-dimension; firstly, it has decreased the work force and secondly, it has increased the demand for sufficient and nutritious food. More than two thirds of the total population of the 25 most affected countries resides in rural areas, affecting agricultural production as well as farm and domestic labour supplies (Mwaniki).
While working with the communities, Africa Harvest has observed the important role of women in agriculture and the need to structure projects in a way that is convenient and conducive for them. Agricultural productivity has been said to increase by as much as 20% when women are given the same inputs as men. If women are to be fully effective in contributing to food and nutrition security, discrimination against them must be eliminated and the value of their role promoted (Mwaniki).
During the year under review, various projects were implemented with the aim of improving nutrition in target households and increasing productivity so that farmers can improve their income by sell the excess harvest. This goal was met through the following projects:
a) Sorghum for Multiple Uses (SMU) Value Chain in Kenya and Tanzania
b) Food Security and Livelihoods through an Improved Sorghum Value Chain in Kenya
c) Food Security and Ecosystem Management for Sustainable Livelihoods (FOSEMS)
d) Commercialisation and Regional Trade in Sorghum in Tanzania and Kenya
e) Tissue Culture (TC) Banana