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The Power of the Public Plate Podcast Episode 3 - Busia: Growing indigenous vegetables to harvest social and environmental benefits

  • Published on November 16, 2021
“Using indigenous African vegetables has a lot of value. At the end of the day, actually all this group of top people who are equivalent of Ministers, they are County Ministers from the County of Busia, they were the first champions to begin to eat African indigenous vegetables and be happy about it. And therefore, they could support this whole system of getting their kids to eat African indigenous vegetables and also be influenced by the places they came from”
- Victor Wasike

In the third episode of the Power of the Public Plate we speak with Victor Wasike, from Busia County, Kenya. Victor is the current Deputy Institute Director of the Genetic Resources Research Institute of the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, as well as a food and biodiversity expert. He has years of experience in agriculture research and management and was directly involved in public school food procurement processes in Busia. He also coordinated the implementation of a pilot study in western Kenya which successfully tested the model on institutionalizing indigenous vegetables in the school procurement supply system under a pre-determined agreed price arrangement. 


What makes The County’s food procurement so special is the way it’s managed to successfully incorporate the area’s traditional food and knowledge in public meals, by enabling farmers to supply to the public sector market. This, in turn, is a great opportunity for children in schools eating those meals to learn more about their own traditions. Busia’s procurement model also very much focuses on health and the benefits each food item can provide, which is shown by the way each ingredient used is analytically looked at and chosen in terms of the nutritional value as means to combat malnutrition. The system’s high Social Return on Investment is also reflected in the rise in local employment it has caused, as well as in the support it has been providing to smallholder farmers.


The Power of the Public Plate, brought to you by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and the UN One Planet Network, is a collection of interviews on how public authorities from around the world leverage procurement to positively impact the food value chain, to ultimately contribute to sustainable food systems. Each week new guests from different parts of the world join us to explore their idea of sustainable food procurement, so make sure to tune in for all the episodes!


You can listen to the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast and One Planet Network YouTube or ICLEI Youtube


To find out more about us, visit our websites:

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability 

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For any queries contact: Josefine Hintz -

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