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Kenya is ranked among the many high 10 nations on the earth anticipated to be most impacted by coronavirus pandemic, in keeping with the Abroad Improvement Institute’s vulnerability index.

It’s estimated that the financial system will undergo a fall in output of Sh1 trillion. Together with widespread job losses, meals insecurity and starvation are a giant concern.

Meals manufacturing ranges are already low, following heavy rainfall and the destruction of over 10,000 acres of crops by locusts. Provide is additional curtailed as a result of restrictions on motion.

FoodTech encompasses meals e-commerce, digital meals administration and digital diet. It performs a pivotal function in addressing meals insecurity, concurrently creating the potential of latest jobs:

#1: Meals-e-commerce as a substitute distribution system

For the reason that lockdown, supply demand for meals by way of e-commerce has grown. As an illustration, Gobeba has recorded a 200 per cent improve in grocery gross sales.


A restaurant chain has was a cloud kitchen, partnering with supply firms to promote ready-meals. Different platforms have come collectively to supply free same-day supply service of a bundle cheaper than many brick-and-mortar shops.

Some supermarkets have additionally partnered with courier service suppliers to spice up on-line procuring and residential supply. Nonetheless, meals e-commerce has but to be built-in with meals distribution schemes to assist low-income households.

#2: Meals e-commerce stimulating jobs

Though massive meals aggregators and supermarkets are already working at or over capability to satisfy demand, extra micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) want to affix the fray by producing prepared meals and delivering (logistics) groceries to low-income households.

Nonetheless, fee charges of roughly 30 per cent, charged by massive meals aggregators, inhibit MSME participation.

#3: Digital meals administration supporting microlending

Digital meals administration contains order, security, stock and information administration by cloud companies, SMS, interactive voice response and blockchain.

Some platforms assist casual store distributors to handle stock and ship merchandise with brief lead instances and use blockchain expertise to introduce speedy microlending.

Scaling up such interventions can infuse liquidity. Cloud companies (orders, meals security information, buyer information) are adopted by lower than 23 per cent of companies as a result of excessive prices.

#4: Digital currencies for the poor

Blockchain currencies – reminiscent of e-vouchers – are gaining reputation. As an illustration, Sarafu Credit score permits microbusinesses to change native items and companies utilizing blockchain-enabled e-vouchers when money is scarce.

SMS backed e-voucher methods are additionally piloted in area people organisations and platforms reminiscent of M-Changa to ship out SMS meals vouchers to meals insecure households, which might be collected at pre-designated spots to minimise contact factors.

#5: Digital companies in diet

The federal government presently doesn’t use any diet apps to trace immunity and register well being histories for weak households.

The federal government can replicate an SMS/IVR model of Covid-19 symptom trackers utilized in many nations to not solely self-report signs but additionally present meals consumption information, map out the extent of immunity and weight loss program variety.

#6: Sensors for selling secure commerce

Since Kenya imports nearly 90 per cent of its rice, 75 per cent of its wheat and 10 per cent of maize, commerce facilitation is essential.

Rising partnerships between the federal government and donors are fast-tracking processing and clearance of cargo, utilizing sensors to examine the well being of truck drivers and creating screening and reporting mechanisms by on-line apps.

#7: Open information initiatives and information commons for meals

Creating information commons to share day by day reporting of manufacturing, distant sensing information and early warning methods can allow speedy internalisation of shocks and mitigate socio-economic losses.

The federal government can ramp up assist for large open information initiatives such because the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience Worldwide and African Regional Knowledge Dice.

These short-term responses can increase the objectives of the 10-year Agriculture Sector Transformation and Progress Technique (2019-2029). Leveraging and scaling up FoodTech can create win-win conditions.

Dr Aarti Krishnan is a Hallsworth Analysis Fellow on the World Improvement Institute, College of Manchester; [email protected]


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