A study to determine the productivity and safety or Urban Agriculture in Nairobi County is currently under way by a team lead by Prof. Caleb Mireri an Environmental Impact Assessment Expert and Chairman of the Department of Environmental Planning and Management at Kenyatta University. Urban agriculture has been part and parcel of urbanisation for ages, contributing to food security particularly to the urban poor further contributing to employment and income given the readily available market in the urban centres. However, urban centres are exposed to high pollution risks because of weak infrastructure, poor sanitation and solid waste management systems as a result of these and other factors including ignorance and lack of appropriate land. Urban agriculture in some cases is practised in polluted land and using contaminated water, i.e. river banks, around dumping grounds, around sewerage treatment works.
In some instances burst sewers are deliberately channelled to the farms contaminating farmlands. Therefore, the safety of urban agricultural produce is highly debatable and unsuspecting consumers are at risk of contaminated farm produce with serious health ramification. From the productivity angle, the development of agricultural sector is prominently captured in Vision 2030 that seeks to raise incomes in agriculture, livestock and ﬁsheries through processing and adding value to farming products before they reach the market through an innovative, commercially oriented and modern agriculture, livestock and ﬁsheries sector. Available data on urban agriculture in Kenya courtesy of International Development Research Centre indicates that urban agriculture makes an invaluable contribution to national development.
The study aims to determine the types, scale, and productivity of urban agriculture, the marketing channels of the produce, who actually gains from urban agriculture. How safe are the farm produce and are they consumed by the farming households or merely sold to unsuspecting consumers. Further, given the high land values in the urban areas, this study will determine the productivity of urban agriculture by assessing investment in and return from urban agriculture.
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