Food sovereignty is a critical alternative to food security that asserts that not all ways of realizing food security are equal, says Victor Odula – GEN Ambassador from Kenya. He reports about the Rodi Ecovillage´s initiative to improve nutrition on the shores of the Lake Victoria.
Rodi Ecovillage Development Initiatives is a community organization whose goals are to reduce poverty, and improve nutrition and the health of the rural poor, while improving the profitability and sustainability of horticulture. The initiative has also established a school for orphans and vulnerable children in Homa Bay County, along the shores of Lake Victoria, in Kenya.
Nutrition, food security and sufficient family incomes are challenges in many parts of the world. Hunger and malnutrition are often linked to poverty. Providing economic opportunities through horticultural farming not only help family incomes, but also addresses food security and nutrition. The main determinant of food insecurity is the vulnerability of people, which in turn is induced by poverty.
Integrated farming methods
An integrated farming model is being practiced by Rodi Township organization to improve food security and livelihoods. The group has an integrated agricultural system to incorporate both livestock and crop production. This practice has helped the group to supply tissue banana seedlings to community members – thus scaling-up banana production; provision of agricultural extension services; and income generation. Furthermore, the same organization has influenced the youth in the area to consider agriculture as a productive and sustainable enterprise. Other agricultural products realized by the group are green-grams, butternuts, beans and sorghum, and the rearing of local goats and poultry.
From the farm proceeds, the group members have been able to support education, medication, clothing and nutrition requirements of the orphans under its care. The community has benefitted from accessing food supplies and learning improved farming practices. The community has learnt the importance of integrated farming, which is economical and environmentally friendly.
There is limited wastage: “Our poultry consume the spoilt vegetables like tomatoes and kales that we used to throw away in the past. Any other wastes are used to fertilize the farms upon which we grow cereals”, narrates Mr. Alex Okello, the Director.
The organization now focuses on the seven pillars of food sovereignty, whereby they ensure the rights of people to healthy and culturally sound sustainable methods, and the right to define their own food and agriculture system.