East Africa’s urban families fight food shortages with city gardens
Urban Farming in Nairobi Video by Kiberia TV. Director Midred Odongo. (Must see. Mike)
For Mugira, the two metres in front of his house can accommodate eight sacks, meaning a full supply of kale for a year. A bunch of kales, which forms the staple food for many of the Ugandan city dwellers, costs Ugsh300.
Written by Bob Koigi
10 January 2013
Wimaka Theuri, a resident of Nairobi’s Githurai area navigates through towering lushes of maize to water his onions and cabbages in a small oasis, barely bigger than a basketball field, that has not only provided food for the family but an alternative source of income at a time when escalating food prices in East Africa have hit urban dwellers the most. The former banker is one of an increasing number of people in major towns of East Africa who are worried about the rising cost of food and have decided to try to do something about it.
And while it is a labour of love for the 40-year-old, it is also an important source of food for his family guaranteeing them of a meal every day even when prices of essential commodities in these major cities have gone sky high.
From rooftop gardens, tyre and sack farming, urban agriculture is emerging as a food security option, with reports indicating that up to half of the food consumed in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Kampala is grown in big towns. Aware of the ticking time bomb that is the escalating food prices in cities, governments across East African states have moved in to encourage urban farming at a time when the urban population stands at 22 percent of the region’s total population and expected to hit 60 percent by 2020, creating a strain on food availability in these areas.