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Kenya is facing food production and food security challenges due to population growth, land use and a changing climate. So in the congested capital Nairobi, residents of its Kibera neighborhood are growing their own crops.
In Nairobi’s Kibera neighborhood, a lack of proper sanitation, scarcity of water, and proper garbage collection make farming a difficult venture. But that’s not deterred residents who’ve ventured into urban farming.
Farmers like David Omari are adapting soilless mediums, such as hydroponic systems, to grow their own crops. Omari is using vertical methods of farming, with pipes laid out horizontally and recycled yogurt cups slotted inside. Instead of soil, farmers here typically use pumice, a volcanic rock that’s crushed and washed to remove impurities.
“In Kibera, we don’t have enough land, of which you can plant what you can see over here. So, we are using what we call the waste products, which are things which come from yogurt, those cups of yogurt,” explains Omari.
“We put in the pumice, which comes from the volcanic type of soil or rock from Maimahiu. So this one, you know it has got no impurities, it is clear and makes the work easier because it cannot grow some weeds.”
The use of hydroponic methods is helping Kibera’s urban farmers maximize space for a bumper harvest.
Experts say such urban farms provide food security to neighborhood residents and reduce transportation costs so food is more affordable too. Setting up such smart facilities is expensive for the farmers living in Kibera. Therefore, farmers are funded by the World Food Programme (WFP) and supported by the Human Needs Project, an international NGO that helps build sustainable infrastructure in impoverished neighborhoods like Kibera.
Human Needs Project has supplied these farmers with clean water for irrigation and other amenities.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.