Gachagua to address high-level UN Summit on food security Monday » Capital News

ROME, Italy, Jul 23 — Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is Monday slated to address the high-level United Nations Summit+2 Stocktaking on Financing Food  Systems.

He will represent President William Ruto at the significant Summit, whose participants include Heads of State and Government and key organisations seeking lasting solutions to hunger, malnutrition and mitigating the impact of Climate Change.

Gachagua, who is accompanied by his Spouse Dorcas Rigathi, Cabinet Secretaries Mithika Linturi (Agriculture) and Ezekiel Machogu (Education) as well as PS for National Treasury Chris Kiptoo, arrived in Rome on Sunday afternoon and was received  at the Fiumicino Airport by Kenya’s Ambassador to Italy, Jackline Yonga.

The three day high-level talks will kick off with Kenya setting the stage with a keynote address by the Deputy President on Financing Food Systems. 

The keynote will focus on Kenya’s Food Systems Transformation Initiative, as part of stocktaking of the commitment of States, Governments  and other Stakeholders in allocating resources to  end hunger and malnutrition. 

The Deputy President  address will take part in the discussions on sustainable food security  at the Heads of State session, to be attended by Italy’s Prime Minister Georgia Meloni and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

School meals

The Summit will also discuss, at length, the school meals programme in which States also work with other partners in ensuring pupils in public primary schools receive food and in balanced rations, to promote health  and education. 

At the plenary, which will be attended by several Heads of State and Government, as well as UN agencies including the World Food Programme, and the Food Agriculture Organisation, among others, the Kenyan delegation will highlight the progress made in Kenya since 1980, when the school meals programme was rolled out.

Currently, the programme benefits over 1.6 million pupils across the country, especially in arid and semi-arid lands.

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It has been shown to increase enrollment and retention of pupils, as well as meeting nutritional needs, moreso through milk. In this year’s budget, the Government has doubled  funds for the school meals programme to KSh5 billion. 

Kenya’s Ambassador to Italy Jackline Yonga says participation at the Summit is key as the country takes a raft of measures on enhancing food security in the context of vagaries of Climate Change.

“This is a high-level meeting. It is significant to Kenya to shine and also seek partnership on fostering food security,” she said. 

Among other initiatives, Gachagua will also speak to measures of sustainably lowering the cost of living especially subsidising production, as opposed to consumption; the case of the subsidised fertiliser.

Diaspora forum

On Monday evening,  the Deputy President, will engage with Kenyans living in Italy, at a dinner at the Westin Hotel in Rome. He is expected to hold  talks with  Prime Minister Meloni with the aim of strengthening the bilateral relations of the two  nations. 

At the meeting with Kenyans, the Deputy President intends to understand their needs and the kind of support they may require from the Government. 

The Kenya Kwanza Administration is keen on supporting  Diaspora investment back home through structured frameworks.

Diaspora remittances into the country last year almost hit Sh500 billion, with the country receiving Sh185.9 billion in the first four months of 2023. This source of money is key to the economy, as the Government strives to increase foreign exchange reserves and stabilise the local currency against other major global denominations. 

On Tuesday morning, the Deputy President will speak at a breakfast side meeting on homegrown sources of food for the school meals programme.

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Gachagua will share Kenya’s experience on the impact of the school meals programme, which is supported by the World Food Programme- and how it can contribute to combating climate change through structured contracting of farmers to produce food schools. 

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), the convener of the COP28 in December, will host the breakfast meeting where Kenya’s participation will be prominent.

The host will seek to understand opportunities in homegrown sources for school meals programme to countering climate change.

This is in addition to Kenya’s role in leading Africa on climate action, as the country prepares for the  Africa Climate Summit in September in Nairobi.

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