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New WFP Country Director pledges support for nutrition programmes

The World Food Programme (WFP) has expressed its commitment to supporting nutrition programmes in Turkana County, with the aim of moving beyond subsistence to commercial food production.

Newly appointed World Food Programme Country Director, Lauren Landis who is on a visit to Turkana County, said that as a former Director of Nutrition for WFP, she was passionate about working with the government on food and nutrition programmes.

             Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro said that while efforts to combat acute malnutrition had borne fruits, more needed to be done to reduce the global acute malnutrition rates which stood at 26.5%.

            In the meeting held yesterday in Lodwar, the two discussed strengthening implementation of the MoU with WFP on sustainable food systems which was signed in 2019, and proposed strengthening private sector involvement to achieve this.

            The partnership programme focuses on food and nutrition security, market linkages and building the county’s capacity.

County Executive Committee Member for Health Services and Sanitation, Jane Ajele said the County Nutrition Action Plan developed with support from WFP and other partners will guide nutrition interventions.

Ajele added that 212 health facilities had benefited from nutrition supplements distributed with support of WFP.

Lotethiro said, “WFP presence in Turkana County has transformed lives through its support to communities in humanitarian assistance and sustainability programmes.”

He commended WFP for investing in various value chains to build food security, saying it will help develop Turkana’s huge potential in food production and complement the County Government’s investment to achieve food security.

Lotethiro called for more focus on innovation and encouraging more youth venture in agribusiness as a means to tackle the high unemployment rates.

He said the county valued partnership with WFP in developing fish production, beekeeping, poultry, fodder, sorghum and cowpeas, as well as goat value chains. He agreed that provision of market linkages for the producers will help transform livelihoods for communities.

            Landis assured the DG that though WFP had shifted its focus to sustainability projects, the organization will still engage in its core work of disaster response.

She pledged her support in developing a Disaster Risk Management Policy and its implementation once it’s ratified by the County Assembly.

            Other notable contributions of the WFP include the development of the County Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) policy and Bill, supporting the ECDE feeding programme and supply of 240 energy saving stoves to select centres.

            County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries, Philip Aemun acknowledged WFP support of county extension services, revival of 45 irrigation schemes through flood-proofing existing irrigation infrastructure.

He said WFP has purchased sorghum from Morulem farmers, thereby providing ready markets for the farmers’ bumper harvest.

            Also in the meeting were County Secretary, Peter Eripete, CEC for Finance and Economic Planning Emathe Namuar, Chief of Staff Ekuwam Nakiporo, Political and Inter-Governmental Relations Advisor Rebecca Lowoiya and Assistant Director for Humanitarian Affairs John Tukei.

Others in the WFP delegation included Head of Lodwar Office, Zippy Amatola, Head of Programmes, Gabriel Ekaale, among others.

By Peter Gitonga

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