You don’t need a big farm to produce for yourself,as its been disaproved by a number of kibera residents.As people complain of the sky rocketing prices of basic commodities,you will be saving a big deal on that.
In almost every corner of kibera, you will find the door steps flanked by earth-filled sacks,and any other free space, sacks squeezed with kales, spinach, onions, tomatoes and other vegetables, in the sacks. Thanks to a small-scale urban agriculture project funded by the French government and run by a French NGO.
To the beneficiaries,urban agriculture has become a source of income as well as food. Those with more sacks sell the surplus vegetables.Mrs Zainabu, who has six sacks, harvests from the sacks consumes a little with the family and sells the rest.sukuma wiki “kales” and spinach is the widely consumed vegetable and therefore her family of four feeds on a sack of sukuma wiki for two days upon harvest
Sack garden is an initiative of Solidarites, a French non-governmental organisation, the project is part of the French government’s response to the humanitarian crisis and violence in Kibera slums and other areas affected by the December 2007 post election violence.
The project is about raising seedlings in a nursery bed ,and planting the vegetable seedlings on the sides of earth filled sacks that are placed on rooftops or doorsteps. Each family receives one to three sacks filled with earth and depending on the available space. 6,000 families are now cropping tomatoes, onions, kales or spinach. One sack can contain hold up to 50 seedlings of kales or spinach and 20 tomato plants.
A nursery has been established in several places where people can collect seedlings and see a demonstration site in action. Vegetables are used directly and indirectly by the household to obtain food.
This project seeks to do away with idleness among women and creates a source of income to the women.Since the inception of the project, Women are busy tending their sack gardens, replacing dead seedlings or watering them.
The project has so far reached to eight villages in kibera,Trainings have been undertaken and around 3ooo seedlings distributed,the demand is however growing big.
This project has boosted food security in this area as compared to the past,as attests Mrs.Zainabu.
The challenge is however that,some young idle people tend to steal the vegetables late night,and destroying them too.
Solidarites strongly believe that urban agriculture should be one of the pillars of the food security strategy in the coming years. When the main limiting factor is the lack of land, to have a garden in a sack is a great opportunity. Solidarites is currently looking for possibilities to replicate the same kind of projects in others slums in Nairobi and also in other countries.