"As a FIRST policy officer, I focused my efforts on supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MoAI) for analysis and evidence generation on different aspects of the agricultural process so that strategic areas could be better identified and receive deserved attention within the Agriculture Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASGTS) and the National Agricultural Investment Plan (NAIP).
For example, I partnered with the Joint Research Council (EU) and MAFAP (FAO) researchers who carried out an economy-wide modelling analysis and showed that irrigation has the greatest impact on poverty reduction. Building on these results, I am contributing to identify best practices in financing small-holder irrigation in order to support the ongoing smallholder irrigation programme of the Ministry that has a goal of reaching 30,000 families by the end of 2018.
The FIRST programme also contributed to the review of food loss and waste in agriculture and it supported diagnostic studies on value chains of selected commercial crops and food safety in Kenya. I was personally able to witness the benefits of value addition and processing from the achievements of an FAO Youth Programme (2015-2017) which supported a group of 26 women producing mango in the West Pokut county. Mango is identified in the ASGTS as one of the key transformative crops but the sector suffers from one of the highest level of food losses. In quality of FIRST senior policy expert, I have advocated for greater attention in the national policy framework to reducing food loss and waste and improving food safety.
Beyond the analytical works, the FIRST programme has provided learning opportunities to several officers and experts by organizing a study tour to Latin America (i.e. Peru and Ecuador) and Asian countries (i.e. Indonesia and Malaysia) to share experiences and to “import” good practices in the development of agricultural strategies/ programmes.
The FIRST programme is also a powerful way to build coordination mechanisms that are vital to guarantee the efficient development of the agricultural sector. To that end, I collaborated with several partners that led to the establishment of the Joint Agriculture Sector Consultation and Cooperation Mechanism (JASCCM) and the Joint Agriculture Secretariat (JAS) in early 2017 and of the Food and Nutrition Security Council (FNSC), approved in early 2018."