Agenda de la Alimentación Urbana

Piloting Activities for Better Food Loss and Waste Management in Nairobi City



If you paint a picture of the average food market in Nairobi, you will have the image of fresh produce coming in every day, and that of food that has not been sold or has rotten being discarded through available waste collection systems, if any.


Food loss and waste in Kenya

Indeed, much of the food loss across Africa happens between harvest and the point of sale and little of it is wasted by the consumers after purchase. This can be attributed to many reasons: late deliveries to the market, broken contracts between producers and wholesale buyers, lack of adequate food storage and transportation facilities, and the demand by buyers at the retail level to only buy the day’s consignment of fresh produce rendering the previous stock as waste. 

According to a recent FAO report, in Kenya, 40% of food is lost from the farm gate to the family table. This scale of food waste contributes to more Kenyans continuing to lack access to nourishment, with the prevalence of food insecurity 10% higher for women than men (Route to Food). 

The Activities

In this context, FAO, in collaboration with local organizations like Practical Action, is supporting local governments to implement “quick win activities” under the FAO Urban Food Agenda framework and the FAO Green Cities Initiative

These constitute an integrated plan through which FAO supports local governments in mainstreaming food systems into local policies, plans and action. The plan leverages on several components, such as food systems analyses (with a specific one on food waste), establishment of multi-stakeholders food governance mechanisms, and the overall development of a food strategy, able to encompass also climate action and other action plans using a holistic approach. 

The activities are focused on strengthening the urban environments through increased capacity and awareness of food safety and quality management among women street food vendors in Kisumu’s urban areas, also improving coordination of food waste reduction and management in Nairobi County. 

Though waste management is classified as a devolved responsibility under the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the country still lacks adequate infrastructure, governance mechanisms and dedicated funding for effective sustainable waste management. According to the Kenyan National Climate Change Action Plan 2018-2022, “the volume of solid waste generated across Kenyan urban centres increased from 4,950 tonnes per day in 2011 to 5,990 tonnes per day in 2014;” a rate faster than the country’s urbanization rate.

Partnership for better food waste management in Nairobi

Waste management is a sustainable development issue in Kenya and its success requires that all sectors of society are aware of the issue, have access to information on waste generation and management, and are able to participate in decision making and action at the local, county and national level. Formulation of a coordinated policy and regulatory framework is needed to guide solutions towards the waste challenge in Nairobi County and this must provide for participation by members across society if the county is to meet the constitutional guarantee of a clean and healthy environment to its residents.

FAO is supporting Nairobi City County in piloting activities in Korogocho Market and will engage market traders through the Korogocho Market Traders Association, users of Korogocho market and the County Government of Nairobi in a series of activities to increase awareness of food waste, and encourage sustainable food waste management activities and policy in the county. These activities are in line with the city strategy to reduce food waste as per the Draft Nairobi City County Food System Strategy and Food waste action plan.

Food waste activities in the markets of Nairobi will include the organisation of waste pickers into registered groups like the Mbolea Youth Group tasked with collecting food waste in Korogocho Market, and the utilization of food waste for production of compost and renewable fuel (biogas) by private companies and institutions though at small scale.