Schools Receive Vegetable Seeds For 4K Clubs
In collaboration with the World Vegetable Centre, the Ministry of Agriculture has distributed vegetable seeds to 4K clubs in 48 primary schools.
Anne Nyaga, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), stated that the seeds will be distributed to schools in Murang’a, Kiambu, Machakos, Kisumu, Vihiga, and Kakamega.
Nyaga stated that the initiative is intended to promote food security and nutrition in the country, as the average intake of fruits and vegetables is very low.
“Only 6% of Kenyans are eating enough vegetables. The recommended rate of consumption of fruits and vegetables by the World Health Organization (WHO) is 400 grams per day per person,” explained the CAS.
During the launch at Kilimo House, Nyaga stated that the seed kits donated to the 4-K Clubs include a variety of traditional African vegetables that are well adapted to the Kenyan environment.
These distributed vegetables according to Nyaga, have a higher nutritional value than other vegetables.
“They can be grown without the use of chemicals, making them safe for our health and the environment,” she said.
She stated that the Ministry is pleased to note that the President’s inauguration of the 4-K Clubs Program last year contributed significantly to the ongoing discussion about how to strengthen young people’s engagement in agriculture.
“As part of our ongoing support to schools to build robust and vibrant 4-K Clubs, together with the Ministry of Education, the implementation of the program is through Centres of Excellence (CoEs). ”
The goal is to establish at least five CoEs per Ward over the next five years.
“A CoE in the 4-K Clubs program is a school that has registered 4-K Club(s) and operates to the highest standards,” Nyaga explained.
The CAS emphasized that in countries where the World Vegetable Centre (WorldVeg) has facilitated school gardens, studies have shown that they increase children’s awareness and knowledge of fruits and vegetables, as well as their consumption preferences.
“To have a significant impact on fruit and vegetable consumption, schools should use their gardens to enhance hands-on learning, which goes hand in hand with the newly implemented Competence Based Curriculum (CBC),” she said.
The CAS stated that the Ministry will also use the 4-K Clubs platform to disseminate and promote efficient agricultural production technologies such as water harvesting, irrigation, land preparation, planting, post-harvest management, and agro-processing of farm products.
Se said the ministry is in discussions with the Ministry of Water, Sanitation, and Irrigation about leveraging boreholes and water tanks that the Ministry has provided to schools so that this infrastructure can support agricultural projects within the 4-K and Young Farmers Clubs.
“We encourage schools to harvest rainwater to support agricultural projects for sustainable food production,” she said.
Dr. Francis Owino, Principal Secretary (PS) of the State Department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research, stated that the revival of 4-K Clubs requires the unwavering commitment and involvement of all stakeholders.
“Coordination activities through an Inter-ministerial Implementation Committee comprising five other Ministries (Education; ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs; Water, Sanitation and Irrigation; Environment and Forestry and the National Treasury and Planning) and the Project Steering Committee at the level of the Principal Secretaries for the partner Ministries, the Council of Governors (CoG) and the Agriculture and rural Development Donor Group (ARD) have continued to take place,” explained Dr. Owino.
He noted that all 47 counties had been made aware of the rebranded 4-K Clubs, and that each county had formed 4-K Clubs County Coordination Committees (CCCs).
According to Ralph Roothaert, Country Director of the World Vegetable Center in Kenya, African traditional vegetables have up to four times more iron, ten times more calcium, and fourteen times more vitamin A per 100-gram dry matter.
“In addition, they have various medicinal values. They are easy to grow, don’t need green houses, are prone to fewer pests and diseases, and can be successfully grown without chemicals. They are perfect candidates to treat malnutrition,” he said.
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He explained that the seed kits that they are donating to the 4-K Clubs’ schools include African traditional vegetables (ATVs) such as amaranth (terere), black nightshade (managu), vegetable cowpea (kunde), Ethiopian kale (kanzira), spider plant (sagaa), jute mallow (mrenda), slender leaf (mitoo), and pumpkin.