The Lake Region Economic Block (LREB) counties have committed to realise the resolutions that were passed in the just concluded 11th summit in Migori County.
The 14 LREB summit members that include Bomet, Kericho, Nandi, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Busia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Siaya, Homa bay, Kisumu, Migori, Kisii and Nyamira was anchored under the theme: “partnerships for sustainable development: County responses to blue economy and climate change adaption in the Lake Region’.
It revolved around the future of the sugar industry in the Lake Region, the data health systems for planning and disease management, the challenges of blue economy investment opportunities and the impact of climate change.
The Chairperson of the LREB and Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o noted that they will invest in high alternative value products like ethanol, rum and chipboards from bagasse to improve earnings and utilise the by products from the sugar industry.
The summit members resolved to champion the introduction of the industrial park anchored to the sugar sector to boost the sugar industry in the region. Prof Nyong’o said that the LREB will work with the national government to implement recommendations of the Sugar Task Force that was presented to former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2020
The key recommendations of the Sugar Task Force included the privatisation of public sugar mills to enhance their efficiency and the enactment of the Sugar Act.
On the issue of health care, the summit resolved that integrating the health data system to capture all data entry to the exit level was a critical aspect in transforming the health care system among the summit members.
Nyong’o explained that the LREB will create a connected healthcare system to link up all health facility systems for real-time accessibility.
LREB also focused on embracing the Digital Land Governance Programme (DLGP) to improve food and nutritional security by securing land for food production. The Digital Land Governance Programme funded by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and European Union (EU) and supported by National and County Governments.
It was created to support all 47 Counties in improving food and nutrition security, livelihoods and sustainable development in Kenya through equitable and secure access and management of land as per Vision 2030.
The LREB Chairperson noted that the DLGP will help to address challenges of blue economy investment opportunities through the proper harnessing of the blue economy resources to avert poverty and enrich the Lake Region residents.
Nyong’o added that the summit was committed to the formulating of policies that will promote the development of aquaculture as well as working with the development partners to improve the aquaculture in the Lake Region Block.
The summit also recognised that climate change was a real threat to food security in the region. Nyong’o affirmed that already all the LREB members have enacted their climate change policies as well as allocated two percent of their total budget for climate change mitigation.
He acknowledged that the summit will develop a harmonised climate change policy to effectively tackle the effects of climate change in the region.
Nyong’o said that the14 LREB summit counties were committed to remaining united in order to actualise the resolutions of the 11th LREB summit and improve the socio-economic status for the benefit of the entire region.
The members also committed themselves to institutionalise the office of the First Spouses to economically empower the projects they were undertaking that majorly revolved around girls’ and women’s empowerment and menstrual health hygiene.
By Geoffrey Makokha