The greater Kisumu region does not produce enough food to feed the residents of Kisumu despite the presence of large rice and sugar-growing farmlands in close proximity to the city. In Kisumu, food is generally accessed through purchases via diverse retail options. A reverse value chain analysis of five key food items consumed in the city (ugali, fish, vegetables, eggs and porridge) revealed that the main production sources of these food items were located between 75km and 150km away and, in some instances,key foods were brought in from even greater distances, often from other countries. This finding contradicts the widely-held assumption that cities, particularly secondary cities, are fed from agricultural activities in the immediate surroundings.
This policy brief is informed by the findings of the ESRC/DFID-funded Consuming Urban Poverty project (formally called “Governing Food Systems to Alleviate Poverty in Secondary Cities in Africa”). Work in Kisumu, Kenya, was conducted in 2016-2017 and generated data on food security, food systems and governance. The implications of the project’s findings are presented here.