The role of social protection in strengthening local food systems and inclusive rural transformation

A case study of the Kenya Home-grown School Meal Programme

At the 2021 Food Systems Summit, convened by the UN Secretary-General, Home-Grown School Feeding programmes were considered a game changer for strengthening local food systems around the world. This paper analyzes the Kenya Home-Grown School Meal Programme with respect to achieving multiple objectives - increasing school enrolment and attendance; addressing hunger and malnutrition; encouraging local production and creating jobs across the school meal value chain and promoting climate adaptive agriculture. The case study identifies and proposes changes in its design to reach its full potential. Key recommendations include:

1. Enhancing support to smallholder farmers

2. Strengthening the procurement process to reduce transaction costs

3. Increasing funding for better coverage

4. Stronger institutional coordination.

Home-grown School Feeding (HGSF) programmes can strengthen local food systems, making them more inclusive and sustainable by creating linkages to smallholders, encouraging the cultivation of local and nutritious crops, and increasing community empowerment. Coordinated multi-sectoral approaches are required to ensure adequate funding for programmes like home grown school feeding that yield multiple benefits across different sectors with potentially very high returns.