By Hannington Odame,
This book provides an all-inclusive approach to farming in small spaces, especially in urban, and peri-urban areas. The book contains food recipes of African indigenous vegetables and fish from the Lake Victoria region of Kenya.
The ‘Women Food Entrepreneurs book’, consisting of 8 chapters, is based on a research project undertaken by multidisciplinary experts between 2015-2019 in city slums in Kisumu, Kenya and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The Women Food Entrepreneurs (WFEs) research project was implemented by social and natural scientists from the Netherlands, Germany, Kenya and Burkina Faso, as well as with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and community-based women groups. The project aimed to strengthen women’s food entrepreneurship in city slums based on an understanding of the interactions between soil quality, food production and marketing for vulnerable groups.
The book focuses on six themes comprising constraints on women food entrepreneurs, soil, water, and food quality interactions. It also integrates women’s knowledge on food production and processing to add value and enhance business skills. This chapter presents important ways to improve market access, contribute to the development of enabling policies for women food entrepreneurs as well as share lessons and best practices for upscaling (Ch 6). In efforts to contribute to development of the private sector, the book presents opportunities whereby women farmers can strengthen their position in the value chain and business knowledge and skills and networks.
In view of the findings, the book proposes recommendations for consideration in policy making processes. A few outstanding recommendations include first the need to recognize women food entrepreneurs’ role in the provision of fresh foods to city populations. Secondly, women food entrepreneurs’ innovative traditional and scientific knowledge in food production, processing and marketing should be valued, documented and upscaled. In this regard, this book highlights two stories of change. In the first one, a leading female trader champions the use of organic fertilizer among WFEs and subsequently gets nominated as a finalist for the Agrofood Broker of the Year Award. The second story highlights different policy moments in which some of the books’ recommendations have informed policy making by Kisumu County government.
Finally, the book presents the project’s impacts which can be upscaled. A notable impact is the ‘Connector-model’, which arose from the continued involvement of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs); the Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE), Nairobi; Victoria Institute for Research on Environment and Development (VIRED) International, Kisumu; Ėtudes Actions Conseils (EAC) in Burkina Faso; Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), the Netherlands; Netherlands Agro, Food &Technology Centre (NAFTC) Africa; Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics(IBED), the Netherlands; Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology, Germany; Dresden University of Technology, Tharandt, Germany; BodemBergsma, the Netherlands; Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé, Burkina Faso; Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR), and University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Netherlands. The model has successfully connected WFE groups with each other as well as with the public and the private through innovation and capacity building. The result is stronger synergy among the Women Food Entrepreneurs for an inclusive business model. The Annex, provides illustrations of food recipes of African indigenous vegetables and fish from the Lake Victoria region of Kenya. The food recipes are both English and dholuo.