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To get best possible experience using our website we recommend that you upgrade to a newer version or other web browser. On just 10 hectares of land in the center of Nairobi, almost a million people wage a daily battle to survive. But there’s also an aspect of life in Kibera that, among all the suffering and tragedy, remains hidden.
Nierenberg works for the Worldwatch Institute, a sustainable development NGO based in Washington, D.C. Nierenberg said the two women have taught Kibera residents an “amazing innovation” known as “vertical farming.” Karanja and Njenga were themselves trained by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Vertical farms are made using recycled or biodegradable sacks, filled with soil and livestock manure. Nierenberg said the concept of vertical farming is “simple but highly effective” in producing food in extremely limited spaces.
She described urban agriculture as a “lifeline” for the people of the area, most who live on less than one dollar a day. The Worldwatch Institute estimates that food purchases absorb up to 80 percent of a typical urban family’s income, so even a small amount of food grown at home alleviates financial stress. Njenga said the political violence that swept Kenya after the 2008 elections provided a “graphic example” of the growing importance of urban agriculture.
Nairobi’s urban farmers, especially those in Kibera, said Njenga, “stepped into this gap” and supplied many people in the city with food. But Kibera’s urban farmers face some serious challenges, including the fact that they don’t own any land and could thus be evicted at any time – cutting them off from their vital food production activities. She gave the example of a company that had given some Kibera residents permission to cultivate crops on its unused land. Kibera is so underdeveloped that it doesn’t have a formal water supply, so farmers here struggle to water their crops.
She said some of the growers use “untreated” wastewater to irrigate and fertilize their plants. Njenga said this “tapping into” Nairobi’s sewage system often brings the farmers of Kibera into conflict with the city authorities.
Using wastewater also allowed the Kibera farmers to embark on another “special” project, said Njenga. The Worldwatch Institute has appealed to governments across the world to give “greater political recognition” to urban agricultural practices, so that city farming can become more sustainable and more productive. The zellwood sweet corn festival was a florida tradition that provided a day of 2015 editors note: the the zellwood sweet corn festival has been.
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Copyright © 2012 Autos Post, All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners. Kibera slum in Kenya’s capital city is infamous for terrible poverty, brutal crime and filthy living conditions, often leading to disease and death. Here, said leading international agricultural researcher Danielle Nierenberg, 1,000 residents have “transformed” themselves into farmers. Crops such as kale, spinach and onions are planted, and holes are poked in the sacks for drainage. Njenga’s and Karanja’s research has shown that people in poor households practicing urban agriculture eat more meals and have more balanced diets than those who don’t. The turmoil resulted in transportation being disrupted and food supplies into Nairobi from the rural areas were cut off.
Therefore they have no land tenure security and this affects the kind of investments that they put into the agriculture,” said Njenga. But, said Njenga, this arrangement was only temporary, and the firm had recently instructed the farmers to leave the land so that it could build on it. The city council orders the food producers not to use wastewater because of dangers associated with coming into contact with untreated sewage.
So as well the water containing human waste, it also contains heavy metals,” said the researcher. With constant access to irrigation through the sewage system, they were able to harvest a lot of seeds.
At the moment, most just don’t see the value of it, and how it can be used to combat poverty.

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The sacks can also be stacked one above another, using shelving, saving space and increasing productivity.
The authorities say the farmers, through contact with the sewage, could absorb poisonous heavy metals such as mercury, aluminum and lead that factories have discarded, through their skin, leading to various potentially fatal diseases. Some of the seeds were sold to other urban farmers but most were sold to farmers in Kenya’s rural areas. Governments not doing enough So far though, said Nierenberg, African governments have largely “ignored” and “neglected” urban agriculture. They just see urban farmers as a nuisance, as people who are using land and other resources illegally,” she said. Also hindering urban food production in Africa at the moment, said Karanja, was “poor cooperation” between the various role players.
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But Karanja said there are “some indicators” to suggest that the continent’s political leaders are willing to support urban farmers.
Firstly, they use their produce to feed themselves, and secondly, if there is surplus, they sell it to generate income,” Njenga told VOA.
She explained that the Kenyan government, for example, has developed a draft policy [on urban farming] and the Cabinet was considering it. But she added that “there’s a way [to go] to change the thinking among the many stakeholders.
Karanja insisted that in Africa it is local municipalities and urban planners who are resistant to urban agriculture, “not so much” national governments. In politics in Africa it takes a long time to put everything straight.” But Njenga adds “it would be best” if the political powers act “very soon” to develop urban agriculture.
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An estimated 15 million people are moving to urban areas in Africa every year, and experts estimate that by 2020, about 40 million Africans will depend entirely on food grown in cities.

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