Title: Using community perceptions to assess the sustainability of the Lake Turkana fishery food system

Final project
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Supervisors: Dadi Mar Kristofersson , Þóroddur Bjarnason
community perception; Lake Turkana; sustainable food system; Kenya;


Sustainable food systems provide food security and nutrition while preserving economic, social, and environmental foundations for future generations. The Lake Turkana Fishery is the second largest fishery in Kenya both by volume and value. With uncoordinated development and lack of proper management, the fishery does not live up to its full potential. Consequently, the Lake Turkana Basin is classified as one of the most food-insecure regions in Kenya. More than half of the inhabitants in the Lake Turkana Basin fall in IPC Phase 3 of food security classification. To understand and come up with development strategies to revitalize the fishery, it is necessary to research the principles guiding management of sustainable food systems. This study's general objective was to determine if the stakeholders of the Lake Turkana fishery appraise it as a sustainable food system. Specifically, the study sought to assess perceptions of the fishing community of different sustainability aspects of the fishery, enumerate community-informed strategies for resilience building, and assess gender issues and power relations. The study used the FAO’s Food Sustainability Assessment Framework (FOODSAF) to assess the sustainability scores of the Lake Turkana fishery. The variables measured (both perception measures and the external sociodemographic variables) significantly predicted the sustainability score of the food system (F (2, 202) = 14.388, p < 0.05), accounting for 62.5% of the variability in predicting the perception score of sustainability of the fishery with adjusted R-squared of 0.616. Based on this, we can conclude that the community perceived the Lake Turkana Fishery to perform quite low in terms of being a sustainable food system. The community embraces the use of traditional and adaptive knowledge as resilience mechanisms in the face of climate change threatening livelihoods. The study also established that gender relations follow strict boundaries that are informed by traditional and cultural gender roles, age, taboos and socioeconomic factors.

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