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Mombasa residents urged to consume vegetables to beat malnutrition

Mombasa residents are set to benefit from a nutrition campaign to spearhead the consumption of fresh vegetables to improve nutrition.

Speaking to Kenya News Agency (KNA), Denis Amberi Project Manager of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) said that the country still faces a triple burden of malnutrition that is under-nutrition, micro-relay deficiency, and obesity.

He noted that research by the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that vegetable and fruit consumption should be at 400 grams per day per person adding that with the increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Kenya, the consumption is still low at 100 to 130 grams per person.

In a bid to sensitize people to increase the consumption of vegetables, GAIN has come up with a project dubbed “Vegetables for All” that started in 2022 and is expected to run up to 2026.

This project aims to contribute to improved nutritious diets through increased consumption of safe vegetables and also greater use of vegetables in Kenyan cuisine.

“We intend to reach 1.1 million consumers to encourage them to improve on vegetable consumption. The project aims to promote vegetable consumption to address malnutrition problems in Kenya targeting five counties that are Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Machakos, and Kiambu,” he added.

He said a formative study conducted by the organization shows that consumers relate better with a brand rather than an idea thus the introduction of the “Food Fiti” brand in Mombasa County to spearhead the vegetable consumption campaign in the county.

“Through this brand we are anchoring our three components that are access to fresh and safe vegetables in close proximity to the consumer, creating awareness of the need to consume fresh vegetables, and an enabling environment where policies can be promoted that will enable vegetable safety,” he added.

He said most Kenyans consume vegetables although very little because they are worried about safety, price, or convenience thus the use of Tuk-tuks in the campaign as a method to reach to consumers and push for the agenda of vegetable consumption.

Amberi said they have partnered with the Mombasa county government so that they can advocate for policies like the Food Safety policy bill that is ongoing, and also working with the public health, trade, and agriculture to collaboratively reach targeted consumers.

Speaking during the launch in Mombasa at Jomvu, Public Health Representative Phylis Kemuto said that the collaboration between the Department of health in Mombasa and GRAIN to push locals to increase vegetable consumption has come at the right time.

Kemuto said that following rising concerns of malnutrition, the sensitization program on increased consumption of vegetables has come in handy to push locals to adhere to the intake of vegetables and fruits.

“Addressing the issues of food security and malnutrition, this program will be effective as it will assist the transporters to be able to efficiently deliver vegetables to vendors who deliver to consumers at the ground,” she said.

Chairperson for Jomvu Tuktuk operators in Mombasa John Chengo lauded the initiative saying there is a need for the coastal people to shift from fast foods and start enjoying the traditional vegetables that have many nutritional benefits.

He confirmed that there is still a challenge in the intake of vegetables since most households prefer pizzas and fries.

Chengo called upon all his members to embrace the power of vegetables saying eating healthy is not just a dietary choice but a way to stay away from diseases.

By Chari Suche

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